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Spring, 2007

Milk Thistle - The Liver Cleanser
courtesy, Colleen Huber, N.D.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)The milk thistle, Silybum marianum, is a monster of a plant. Over 5 feet tall with thorns everywhere, it defies you to collect its medicine. The medicine is contained in its seeds and for the sake of your fingers; it is best to harvest these with scissors and tweezers. You may want leather gloves and long sleeves as well. The seeds are encased within a formidable spike-ball of two-inch thorns.

However, once you get past these obstacles, you will find yourself with one of the most benign, nourishing and healing substances you will ever consume: the tea or tincture of ground milk thistle seeds.

Now that air, water and food pollution are very common, it is especially helpful to have the liver-cleansing effects of the herb milk thistle. It not only helps the liver to eliminate the toxins that are concentrated there, but it also protects the liver from the onslaught of new chemicals. The liver is our number one defense against pollutants and needs the support of whole healthy food and avoidance of toxicity. Milk thistle helps the liver to function better and to clean itself. Milk thistle does this job better than any known substance, whether pharmaceutical or herb.

However, milk thistle actually goes further. It has been shown to repair damage to liver tissue and to work as a trophorestorative, which means it helps the liver build new tissue for what has been damaged. From a relatively healthy person to one suffering with hepatitis or fatty liver or the effects of alcoholism, milk thistle repairs damage in almost every case.

This article was originally published on Colleen Huber's website, Naturopathy Works. It appeared in the November 2006 "Herb of the Month" section. Reprinted with permission.

Above photo from Wikipedia, Free Encyclopedia.

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