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Nutrition

Instant Expert: Milk Thistle

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Written by Melissa Shedden

This king of detoxifying herbs stormed the super herb stage hundreds of years ago (sans acceptance speech interruption).

Pop music references aside, the real power of this prickly weed is housed within the reddish-purple flowers, home to its silymarin-packed seeds. They’re a group of bioflavonoids, FYI.

Here’s everything you need to know about the prickly plant:

  • Just like Kanye reinvests himself with each album, milk thistle helps with a different kind of regeneration – for your liver, helping negate those neg effects of poor diet, too many wines and and environmental toxins and pollution.
  • Guilty of overindulgence? (Yes pizza and wine, we’re looking at you). It’s recommended for you. Same goes if you’re stressed and exposed to pollution. Cue: extra liver support.
  • Silybum marianum (its fancy plant name) has even fancier properties – hepatic trophorestorative properties to be exact – which means it helps restore and regenerate the integrity of liver cells.
  • The purple flower has been traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to help maintain gallbladder health. Biology lesson alert: The bile-storing organ sits to the right side of your abdomen just below your ribs and under the liver.
  • Milk thistle has antioxidant properties to help protect cells against potential free radical damage. Rad indeed.