What Is Silymarin And What Are Its Health Benefits?
|What Is Silymarin And What Are Its Health Benefits?||Darrell Miller||04/11/12|
April 11, 2012 07:29 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: What Is Silymarin And What Are Its Health Benefits?
Silymarin a Component of Milk thistle
Silymarin refers to a dietary supplement that is derived from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, whose scientific name is Silybum marianum. Milk thistle is native to Southern Europe, Middle East and North Africa, but it has also been naturalized in North America. The name of the plant is derived from the white, milky sap from its leaves and stems once they have been broken. Silymarin is made up of three types of plant flavonoids, namely silibinin, silicristin and silidianin. These work together as Silymarin, providing several health benefits to people. The medicinal benefits of Silymarin are not a recent discovery, since extracts of the milk thistle have been used for centuries in the treatment of liver diseases. Currently however, the benefits of Silymarin are not restricted to the treatment of liver conditions. With time, it has emerged that Silymarin has other health benefits, which will be discussed in this article.
One of the best known health benefits of Silymarin is its protection of the liver against toxins. The liver is one of the most important organs in a person's body, aiding in food digestion in addition to cleaning toxic substances from the blood. This means that the diseases that affect a person's liver will also affect his or her overall health. One of the most serious diseases that affect the liver is hepatitis, a viral infection that causes liver inflammation. Research has shown that Silymarin inhibits the development of the hepatitis virus, since it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also stimulates the body's immune system, providing overall liver protection.
Silymarin also has anticancer benefits, owing to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants normally prevent the damage of healthy body cells by free radicals. According to the American Cancer Society, the antioxidant properties in Silymarin offer protection against skin cancer. Further, Silymarin also helps to reduce the growth of prostrate, breast and cervical cancer cells. This means that when used together with other cancer treatments, it can actually help to prevent or reduce a patient's need for chemotherapy. It is also useful in the treatment of cancer, due to the fact that it protects the liver from the toxins in the chemotherapy drugs.
Other than chemotherapy drugs, Silymarin also protects the liver against any other drugs that may affect the liver, as well as harmful substances such as alcohol. In some parts of Europe, milk thistle is normally given to patients whose medications are known to cause liver complications. The other benefit of Silymarin is that is helpful on controlling the blood sugar levels. In a study involving patients with type II diabetes, it was found that taking Silymarin at least thrice a day significantly reduced their blood sugar levels. In addition, the patients also experienced a drop in the levels of bad cholesterol.
Silymarin has no toxic compounds, so it is safe to use without any serious side effects. The only side effects that have been reported are indigestion, diarrhea and allergic reactions. However, the prevalence of such occurrences is negligible, as they only apply to few people. Nevertheless, people with existing medical conditions should consult their doctors prior to taking Silymarin.