Posted by Nicole on August 23, 2014

Getting to Know Milk Thistle

Milk thistle can prove to be a strong ally in the battle against a nasty hang over. When the sun comes up, and it's time to take care of life's many tasks the next day, there's few things that can be worse than the hangover. With milk thistle on your side, you may be able to overcome it, and seize the day without the headache, fatigue, nausea, and general discomfort that last night's drinking has left on your shoulders.

 What is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle's official name is “silybum marianum,” and it was originally found in parts of Southern Europe and Asia. It's also been called Scotch thistle, and Saint Mary's thistle. With spiny leaves and a fairly striking red and violet flower, the plant's an aggressive grower, so much so that it's considered to be an invasive weed in some parts of the world. Its tenacity, and its value as an herbal supplement, has also led to its cultivation on a large scale.

 

Milk thistle's primary benefit is to support liver function, and even more specifically, the chemicals in milk thistle help to protect the cells of the liver from damage by toxins. It has also been shown to have antifungal properties. As a downside, it's been shown to be toxic to sheep and cattle, which can make it a problem for farmers in areas where the plant's proven to be an invasive species.

 

A Few More Facts

 -One of the earliest recorded uses of milk thistle was during first century AD, where there were already associations of the herb and liver health.

-Milk thistle not only works to protect the liver, but also helps to promote the growth of new liver cells when damaged cells are an issue.

-Milk thistle's been researched for other functions that it can support aside from the liver, and in the past, was even prescribed to increase breast milk production. Modern research has determined this to not be the case.

-Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant, providing more power per serving than popular choices like Vitamin C.


Before or After?

Regular use of milk thistle as a supplement may help you to promote better liver health, which means that you could see some benefit when using a supplement with the herb even if you haven't had a drink. In fact, you could help to counteract the effects of alcohol by continuing to take milk thistle on a daily basis. For some people who enjoy having a drink every now and again, this could be a smart way to fight a hangover before it even begins.

Of course, milk thistle can still provide some benefits during the hangover. Remember, some hangovers can last anywhere from a few hours, to two days or more depending on your health, how much you've had to drink, and other factors, so a recommended daily dosage of a milk thistle supplement could be the right way to address those hangovers that never seem to actually be over.