Milk thistle: side effects

Milk thistle is a natural remedy used in herbal medicine and phytotherapy mainly for the well-being of the liver.

Milk thistle ( Silybum marianum ) is a wild plant of the Asteraceae family, useful for improving liver function. Let’s find out the characteristics and side effects of milk thistle.

What is milk thistle

The milk thistle is an annual spontaneous plant, characterized by an erect and very branched stem.

The leaves are deep green with whitish streaks and a thorny margin.

The flowers of the milk thistle are purple flower heads surrounded by thorny bracts.

Of the milk thistle, the fruits deprived of the pappus are used, often called milk thistle seeds, used in herbal medicine and phytotherapy mainly for the beneficial action on liver cells.

Properties of milk thistle

Milk thistle has protective properties on liver cells and is also a bitter-tonic, choleretic, antioxidant, spasmolytic remedy .

The properties of milk thistle are given by the presence of flavolignans (silybin, silidianin and silicristin) and flavonoids which are found mainly in fruits.

Benefits of milk thistle

Milk thistle is a remedy used to treat reversible liver diseases such as fatty liver and hepatitis since its administration is able to regenerate liver cells.

Milk thistle is also used to protect and purify the liver in case of abuse of alcoholic beverages, high consumption of fatty foods, drug therapies.

In addition, milk thistle preparations are effective in:

  • Improve digestive processes;
  • increase blood pressure;
  • help control blood sugar.

How to use

Milk thistle can be taken in:

  • Herbal tea;
  • dry extract;
  • tincture.

Milk thistle herbal tea is prepared with dried and shredded fruits, left in boiling water for a quarter of an hour. About a teaspoon of the drug is used for each cup of water and up to four cups a day can be drunk before main meals.

The mother tincture of milk thistle is taken by diluting 30-40 drops in a little water, one to three times a day, always before meals.

Contraindications of milk thistle

Milk thistle is a safe remedy but its use is not recommended in case of allergies, hypertension and in women taking hormone replacement therapies or oral contraceptives.

Before taking milk thistle during pregnancy, it is advisable to consult your doctor.

Side effects of milk thistle

The intake of preparations based on milk thistle does not present particular undesirable effects. Among the side effects of milk thistle there is a mild laxative action in sensitive subjects.

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