An Old Acquaintance
Milk thistle has been used for more than 2,000 years. This plant is native to the Mediterranean area and belongs to the family of plants Asteraceae, which also includes other plants like sunflowers and daisies. The Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides was the first to describe milk thistle's healing properties in 40 d.C. Milk thistle owes its name to the milky white liquid coming out of the plant leaves when they are crushed. The real plant leaves also have a white stained pattern that looks like if they were soaked in milk.
It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and it is commonly used to detoxify the body, especially the liver, and as an adjuvant agent in liver diseases and gallbladder problems. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) can be grown in many parts of the world with warm weather. In fact, milk thistle or silymarin is the most common natural supplement for liver disorders in countries like the USA due to its many benefits for health. It is considered to be a hepatoprotective, galactogen, demulcent and cholagogue agent and it is thought to have a healthy digestive effect as it promotes the formation of enzymes, increases bile production, reduces inflammation and soothes mucous membranes in the body.