Milk thistle is a flowering plant that belongs to the daisy family. It contains milky sap, which has an active ingredient responsible for the plant’s health benefits – it is said to treat chronic liver ailments and detoxify the liver.
Milk thistle extract, made from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, is obtained from the seeds and aids detoxification by acting as a liver tonic while repairing damage to the liver. Milk thistle also has been used to treat alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver, cirrhosis-liver poisoning, and viral hepatitis, in addition to the side-effects of pain killers.
Silymarin, the active antioxidant compound in the extract, has another health benefit. It is said to help prevent the growth of cancer cells in the prostrate, breast, and cervix. However, this has not been scientifically proven. Milk thistle also has linoleic acid, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. It can control cholesterol and maintain blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes.
The extract from leaves, fruits, and seeds of the plants that contain silymarin is made into teas, capsules, or tinctures. As silymarin is not water soluble, the health benefits of milk thistle tea are limited. The benefits of milk thistle tea increase when taken in a concentrated form.
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