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Milk Thistle and its effect on Kidney Health

Milk Thistle and its effect on Kidney Health

What Is milk thistle?

Milk thistle is a weed-like plant of Mediterranean region, and it has a purple flower; it is a relative of flowers daisy and dandelion. For thousands of years, humans have been using various herbs and natural remedies like Milk Thistle to heal various diseases. So, milk thistle can cure various ailments, mainly liver, kidney, and gallbladder.

Milk thistle is a weed-like plant grown in the Mediterranean region. It has a purple flower; it is a relative of flowers daisy and dandelion.

Silymarin is a flavonoid of milk thistle dried fruit, the main active ingredient in milk thistle. These two words represent this ancient herb. Silymarin is a flavonoid complex of silibinin, silydianin and silicristin. Silymarin is high in antioxidant and inflammatory properties and can help fight against the risk of type2 diabetes. It may also help fight oxidation of healthy cells.

Scientific studies suggest that Silymarin has the ability to protect the liver from toxins; it also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help maintain a healthy liver and protect it from medicine like Tylenol, which can cause liver damage when given in high doses. Milk Thistle can also assist the liver in repairing itself helping with new cell growth.

Today it’s available in the market in the form of Milk Thistle extract or Silymarin. You can consume it as a supplement or medicine. More scientific research is happening and suggesting its various health benefits including anticancer properties.

What is milk thistle used for?

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver, kidney, and gallbladder problems.

Milk Thistle helps in curing various liver ailments. Many people get liver problems because of over consumption of alcohol. This remedy helps them make their liver healthy again.

Milk thistle can be helpful for people with chronic hepatitis C. In fact, a survey reported that 23 percent of the people with hepatitis C are using Milk Thistle as herbal supplement.

It works as an adjunct with conventional cancer therapies to prevent possible liver damage from treatments like Chemo or Radiotherapy. Due to its inflammatory properties it reduces the pain caused by these treatments.

Research is going on for its anticancer properties. It helps prevent or recurrence of cancer cells.

Does milk thistle help kidney function?

Milk Thistle can be helpful in kidney disease in people with diabetes (diabetic nephropathy). Early research shows that taking milk thistle extract together with conventional treatment might help treat kidney disease in people with diabetes.

Nephropathy is one of the most important complications of diabetes mellitus and drug induced toxicity. Nephrotoxicity is mostly related to oxidative stress and nowadays much attention has been made towards the possible kidney protective properties of medicinal plants. Studies revealed, silymarin is useful for diabetic nephropathy. The combination of metformin, silymarin and renin-angiotensin system inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers may have additive kidney protective properties to prevent or slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy.

Recent evidence suggests that silymarin may be just as important for kidney health as for liver. Silymarin concentrates in kidney cells, where it aids in repairing and regeneration by increasing protein and nucleic acid synthesis. 

Therefore, combination of metformin, silymarin and renin-angiotensin system inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers may have additive kidney protective property beyond controlling the blood sugar of metformin, to prevent or slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy.

Milk thistle and side effects

For the vast majority of people, Milk Thistle will be safe and the side effects caused are very mild. The most potential side effect seems to be gastrointestinal discomfort. And this can happen only if the patient is undergoing a high-end daily dosage. If a you experiences this discomfort, then you should reduce the intake of the supplement and consult your oncologist for further understanding. 

Also, people taking medications for allergies, anxiety, and high cholesterol should consult a doctor before taking the Milk Thistle supplement. Most importantly expecting and breastfeeding mothers should avoid taking any sort of supplements without doctor’s recommendation.

Considering the benefits, milk thistle supplements hopefully can become a go-to magical pill to swallow for the prevention of cancer. 

How to consume milk thistle 

Nowadays there are plenty of ways to add this holy plant into our daily diet. You can buy Milk Thistle capsules, extract, or other supplements. You can always buy and eat the Milk Thistle seed, the seeds are edible. Also, you can brew a cup of Milk Thistle tea and enjoy!

In a few countries, the active component silybin is directly injected into the patients by intravenous infusion to treat liver disorders. Therefore, it helps in liver damage caused by alcohol, chemotherapy, and other chemicals.

Conclusion

Milk Thistle or Silymarin is a natural, safe, plant based remedy, which has potential to heal and protect the liver and kidney from a variety of possible damages. If someone is taking a medicine which can potentially harm any of these organs, then milk thistle can protect that.

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