Milk Thistle- The herb that your liver will love
Milk thistle, also known as Silybum marianum is an ancient herb that has been used as a remedy for a variety of ailments particularly for problems of the liver, kidney, and gall bladder. The active component of this medicinal herb is a flavonoid called Silymarin. This is hailed as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can protect the liver from toxins such as ethanol.
One particular study published in the World Journal of Hepatology claimed that Silymarin has the ability to inhibit the free radicals that are produced from the metabolism of toxic substances such as alcohol (1). Silymarin also enhances the formation of the master antioxidant Glutathione in the liver, which is depleted with alcohol consumption (2).
The liver is responsible for multiple metabolic functions such as bile and energy production, vitamin storage and the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. This organ constantly works hard to help defend us from toxins including ethanol and it is essential that we take measures to support the liver. Nurse Fiona recommends incorporating this herb into your diet, especially before or after alcohol consumption to protect your liver and aid in the detoxification of ethanol.
What type of Milk thistle should I look for?
Opt for an organic product where possible with minimal binders, fillers and additives used. Nurse Fiona advises ‘Nature’s Answer’ Milk thistle extract
Alternatively you can make your own homemade Milk Thistle infusion and serve warm or chilled in the fridge overnight. Crush one tablespoon of milk thistle seeds in a mortar and add to 3 cups of boiling water. Steep for about 20 minutes and strain.