Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a flowering plant that comes from the same family as the daisy. Also known as Mary thistle or holy thistle, milk thistle plant is native to the Mediterranean region, although it is commonly found across the globe. This prickly plant has distinctive purple flowers and white veins, which traditional stories say were caused by a drop of the Virgin Mary’s milk falling onto its leaves. From the powerful, targeted support it provides to our hardworking liver to its ability to stimulate the immune system and even promote skin health—milk thistle has a slew of health benefits that can be harnessed to bolster whole-body health.
Milk thistle seeds contain silymarin, a group of compounds said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Milk thistle is thought to benefit the liver and is often used as a home remedy to "detoxify" the liver or treat liver problems.
Although milk thistle is most often used for liver conditions, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, the herb is believed by some to prevent or treat high cholesterol, diabetes, heartburn, upset stomach (dyspepsia), hangover, gallbladder problems, menstrual pain, depression, and even certain types of cancer.
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