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Effects of milk thistle

The article was professionally consulted with MSc.BSCKII Phan Thi Minh Huong - Gastroenterologist, Vinmec International Hospital Da Nang.
Milk thistle is a herbaceous plant that grows wild in many parts of the world. One of the important active ingredients of milk thistle is silymarin, which is extracted from the seeds of the plant. Silymarin is a flavonoid with antioxidant properties and is used to treat liver diseases.

1. Effects of milk thistle

Milk thistle is a plant native to Europe and brought to North America by early colonists. Milk thistle is now found throughout the eastern United States, California, South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia. Milk thistle gets its name from the sap of the plant like milk that flows from the leaves when they are broken. All aboveground parts and seeds are used to make medicine. Silymarin is the main active ingredient in milk thistle, which is both anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and has blood sugar-lowering effects. Milk thistle seeds can protect liver cells from harmful chemicals and drugs.
Currently, milk thistle taken orally is the most common for liver disorders, including liver damage caused by chemicals, alcohol, and chemotherapy, as well as liver damage from Amanita mushroom poisoning, liver disease. nonalcoholic steatosis , acute hepatitis , cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis .
Some people apply milk thistle directly to the skin to reduce skin damage caused by radiation.
In foods, milk thistle leaves and flowers are eaten as a salad vegetable and as a substitute for spinach. Milk thistle seeds are roasted for use as coffee.
However, do not confuse milk thistle with sacred thistle (English name is Cnicus benedictus)
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2. Instructions for using milk thistle

Currently on the market, milk thistle extract is available in oral capsule, tablet, powder and liquid form.
The doses below are recommended for adults for oral use:
For diabetes: Products containing 140 mg of milk thistle extract are taken three times daily for 45 days. Patients can take 200 mg of milk thistle extract daily or three times daily for 4 months to a year. Other combination products like 210 mg of milk thistle extract and 1176 mg of turmeric extract for 3-12 months. For indigestion: 01 ml of milk thistle and some other herbs taken three times daily for 4 weeks.

3. Side effects of milk thistle

Tiểu đường
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When taken orally: Milk thistle extract is safe for most people. In some people, taking milk thistle extract can cause diarrhea, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite, and possibly headaches. When applied to the skin: Milk thistle extract is safe when applied directly to the skin for short periods of time. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is currently not enough reliable evidence to know if milk thistle is safe to use during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Therefore, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not use this product. Children: Milk thistle is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in appropriate doses for children 9 to 1 year of age and older. Allergy to ragweed and ragweed relatives: Milk thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Plants related to Asteraceae/Compositae include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and many others. If you are allergic to these flowers, consult your doctor before using milk thistle. Diabetes: Certain chemicals in milk thistle may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Hormone-sensitive diseases such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Milk thistle extract may have estrogenic activity. If you have any medical conditions that may be aggravated by exposure to estrogen, milk thistle extracts should not be used.

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Reference source: Webmd.com; Mayoclinic.org

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