Milk Thistle: A Natural Cure For Liver Cancer

For centuries, milk thistle has been used in herbal medicine. This prickly, purple plant has been used to promote liver health. Also, it is highly regarded for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

It was revealed by studies that the protective benefits of milk thistle are far greater than conventional scientists could have ever imagined. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine have shown that the herb is extremely effective against liver cancer.

Milk thistle has been found to have two key bioactive compounds known as silymarin and silibinin. Silymarin is known for a host of health benefits. The team from UC Irvine has discovered that silibinin is especially effective against liver cancer.

Fighting Liver Cancer With Milk Thistle

In a study published in 2007, a research team from UC Irvine Medical Center led by Dr. Ke-Qin Hu first highlighted the potential for milk thistle extract to fight liver cancer.

The silibinin’s effects on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell growth were the main focus of the study. Researchers found that the extract had multiple-cancer effects on the cancer cells. These effects include decreasing the proliferation of cancer cells, inhibiting the cell cycle of cancer cells, and increasing the rate of apoptosis (cell death).

The researchers stated in their conclusion that:

”Our results defined silibinin’s in vitro anti-HCC effects and possible mechanisms and provided a rationale to further test silibinin for HCC chemoprevention.”


Other Benefits Of Milk Thistle

Aside from fighting with liver cancer, studies have also shown that milk thistle can also be effective at promoting liver health.

There were researches funded by the National Institutes of Health confirming that supplementing with milk thistle reduced symptoms and improved quality of life in patients with Hepatitis C.

Aside from this, Dr. David Jockers reports that:

“Milk thistle is a demulcent that improves the health of the body’s mucous membranes. This reduces inflammation within the skin cells, sinus and respiratory tract and kidney and bladder wall lining.”

Dr. Jockers further states that milk thistle helps to protect the kidneys from damage, among other benefits.

In terms of antioxidant activity, silymarin is also been said to be 10 times as potent as vitamin E— no wonder it’s so protective. Milk thistle offers a host of benefits like other herbal remedies.

Studies have also shown that milk thistle may help reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to the reports of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Milk thistle is generally well-tolerated in suggested doses, though it can cause some gastrointestinal distress in some people. Though it is generally regarded as safe, milk thistle is a potential allergen. NCCIH further reported that people with allergies to plants in the same family (such as marigold, ragweed, daisy, and chrysanthemum) are at higher risk of having a reaction to milk thistle.

Before beginning a new supplement, you should always speak first with your naturopath or other holistic care providers.

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