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Milk Thistle

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Milk thistle information, FAQ and product listing page. This page contains information and frequently asked questions about milk thistle as well as a complete list of products containing milk thistle.

What is milk thistle and what does it do?

Milk thistle, scientifically referenced as Silybum marianum, has been used by people since the Greco-Roman era. It’s been used as an herbal remedy to treat a myriad of ailments, specifically liver problems.

In the 1800s and 1900s medical practitioners located in the United States used the seeds from milk thistle to help reduce congestion in the spleen, kidneys, and liver. In the current day and age, scientific studies exist that show that substances found within milk thistle (like silymarin) help protect our livers from damage that is caused from free radicals, viruses, alcohol, as well as certain drugs like acetaminophen and acetaminophen, both used for headache and pain.

Professional herbalists suggest taking milk thistle for treating and preventing a variety of liver disorders consisting of viral hepatitis, liver damage, and to combat fatty livers.

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What are the benefits of taking milk thistle?

Liver disease - Over a dozen scientific studies have shown benefits of using milk thistle to treat a variety of liver disease forms. While it may be hard to draw any conclusive results, several of the studies showed that milk thistle improved liver function in those individuals that were inflicted with alcoholic liver disease. It must be known, however, that milk thistle was not as beneficial in some of the more severe types of liver disease like cirrhosis.

Mushroom poisoning - Milk thistle has been used as either an antidote or preventive measure to poisoning by the deathcap mushroom. Studies performed on animals have shown that extract of milk thistle counteracts the toxic effects that the mushroom releases if taken within 10 minutes of consumption. And if milk thistle is taken within 24 hours of ingestion, it may drastically lower the chances of death and liver damage.

Milk thistle may also be beneficial in fighting and treating viral hepatitis and cancer, although more research and studies are needed.

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Who can benefit from taking milk thistle?

Those that may suffer from a weakened liver may choose to take milk thistle. In addition, those that have been subject to mushroom poisoning may want to use it as well – but if mushroom poisoning has occurred, please seek professional medical help immediately.

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How much milk thistle should I take?

The dosages that children take should be adjusted to account for the weight of the child. Typically, dosages when it comes to herbs and adults are calculated on 150 pounds. This means that if a child weighs 50 pounds, the child should take 1/3 of the adult dosage for milk thistle.

The recommended daily dosage for milk thistle for adults is usually 12 to 15 g dried herb. This provides you with 200 to 400 milligrams of silymarin per day, or 100 to 200 milligrams of silymarin-phosphatidylcholine complex two times every day.

If you’re taking milk thistle to help protect your liver, take about 2 capsules a day twice a day, which should be 120 milligrams of silymarin consumption for the day. Treating liver damage requires 3 capsules three times a day of 120 milligrams.

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Does milk thistle have any side effects?

While herbs are usually safe as they come from nature, they do have active substances that can potentially trigger side effects within the body. They can also interact with other herbs, medications, and supplements that you’re taking. Because of this, you should take milk thistle only under the guidance and supervision of a medical professional familiar with your medical conditions.

While side effects from milk thistle are normally rare, they can occur. When they do, they might be in the form of nausea, stomach pain, headache, diarrhea, rash, skin reactions, impotence, joint pain, or anaphylaxis. Both impotence and anaphylaxis are extremely rare.

Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take milk thistle.

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