Silybum marianum, also known as Milk Thistle is part of the Compositae plant family. St.
Mary's Thistle is native to the Mediterranean, Europe and Asia and
grows wild throughout Europe, North America and Australia.
Thistle is an old English name for a large family of plants occurring chiefly in Europe and Asia. There are 14 species of Thistles just in Great Britain.
Botanical Name: Silybum marianum
Plant Family: Compositae
Common Names: Milk Thistle, Marian Thistle
History: The use of St. Mary's Thistle was recorded in the first century (AD 23-79) noting that the plant was excellent for protecting the liver. Early Christian tradition dedicated the plant to Mary, calling it Marian Thistle
In the 19th century the Eclectics used the herb for:
According to the herbalist Culpepper, 'Thistles, in general, are under the dominion of the planet, Jupiter'.
Tradition: This thistle supposedly gets its name because the milk white veins of the leaves originated in the milk of the Virgin which once fell upon a plant of thistle.
An old Saxon tradition said that if:
Medicinal Parts Used: Whole herb, roots, leaves, seeds and hull
St. Mary's Thistle is used for:
Brain and Nervous System Conditions
St. Mary's Thistle supports nutritionally the liver's ability to maintain normal liver function. It has been used to treat nearly every known form of liver disease including:
It protects the liver from damage from the harmful, detrimental effects of:
Respiratory Tract Conditions
The leaves are nutritious:
St.Mary's Thistle has similar properties to Blessed Thistle
For liver protection:
St. Mary's Thistle should not be used by:
Side effects from St. Mary's Thistle happen only rarely, but may include:
The last two reactions listed are extremely rare.
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use milk thistle without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Similar to its ability to protect against damage to the liver from alcohol and acetominophen, as discussed in the Overview, milk thistle may also protect against liver damage from the following medications:
Other medications that may interact with milk thistle include:
One animal study found that milk thistle may enhance the effectiveness of aspirin in rats with liver cirrhosis. Whether this herb-drug combination has the same effect in people is not known at this time.
Preliminary research suggests that silybin may enhance the tumor fighting effects of cisplatin and doxorubicin when tested against breast and ovarian cancer cells.
In addition, milk thistle may protect the kidneys against toxic side effects associated with cisplatin and cyclosporine, two medications that are commonly used to treat cancer.
On the other hand, a different laboratory study revealed that the anticancer effect of cisplatin and ifosfamide was diminished in the presence of milk thistle. More research needs to be done to assess how milk thistle and cancer-fighting agents interact.
Global Herbal Supplies has St Mary's Thistle available in the following forms
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