Milk Thistle – not just for the over-indulgers

So what springs to mind in most people when you mention milk thistle? Most would say it is a good hangover cure. Milk thistle was once cultivated for culinary use, being regarded as a highly versatile vegetable. These days it is primarily known for its restorative properties, particularly in relation to the liver. Two of its active constituents are thought to protect liver cells from toxins. Plus they can promote liver cell generation – which will help the organ make new cells to replace damaged ones.

Helping your hormones

It can be beneficial to help some individuals whom have a hormonal imbalance. The liver is a filter of all sorts. It detoxifies our body, protecting us from the harmful effects of chemicals, elements in food, environmental toxins and even natural products of our own metabolism, including excess oestrogen. Anything that impairs liver function or ties up the detoxifying function (e.g. stress, poor diet, genetics, alcohol) can result in excess oestrogen levels. This is because the liver functioning can eventually slow down, so oestrogen is allowed to recirculate, causing a hormonal imbalance.

Oestrogen is produced not only internally but also in reaction to chemicals, products we put on our skin plus substances in our food. When it is not broken down adequately because the liver is overstressed, higher levels of oestrogen build up. This is true for both men and women. Oestrogen dominance can start early in a woman’s menstrual history. Young women who suffer from this enter menarche with tremendously difficult periods and doctors sometimes give these teenage girls birth control pills to help regulate the frequency and severity of their period’s. Sometimes endometriosis or fibroids may be present in oestrogen dominance. By taking milk thistle, this can help to support the liver that is in fact partly responsible for ridding oestrogen. Which in turn can help towards balancing hormone levels nicely. There are many other ways to help balance hormone levels such as diet, exercise and other supplements. Talk to a qualified and registered nutritionist about this.

Helping your hangover

When it comes to helping cure a hangover – the only way to make sure you do not get a hangover is to avoid alcohol completely. However if abstemiousness is beyond you – then it is possible that taking milk thistle before going out, when you get home and again the next morning could reduce you suffering considerably.

Always consult a health care practitioner or your GP before supplementing with milk thistle. You must avoid it if you are taking anti-hypertensive medication including warfarin or diazepam.