The beneficial aspects of milk thistle were known to herbalists as early as 23 a.d. The seed is the part used, and is considered beneficial to the liver. Some studies indicate that it may help the liver regenerate from some liver diseases. More studies are being done, particularly into whether it has cancer prevention or cholesterol lowering potential.
Another effect milk thistle may have is on bile and bile ducts. For that reason, many herbalists suggest it to those suffering from gall bladder diseases. Due to its effects on bile, it can have a mild laxative effect
Milk thistle is considered to be a demulcent, soothing many systems of the body and may ease skin conditions such as acne when taken internally.
In some cultures of the Middle East, milk thistle is more than just an herb, it is food. The sprouts and young stems are the edible parts.
Milk thistle has an interesting characteristic. It is valued by herbalists but it is toxic to livestock. Milk thistle is native to the Mediterranean region, but because of its useful properties it has spread world wide. It is a vigorous plant, with heavy seed content and a tendency to spread.
Herbs for Human Health contains much more information about milk thistle, along with detailed recipes and preparation instructions. There are many other alternative herbal remedies discussed in this valuable e-book..
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