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If You Think Milk Thistle Is Just A Plant, You Don’t Know What You Are Missing Out!

If You Think Milk Thistle Is Just A Plant, You Don’t Know What You Are Missing Out!

It is most often seen in a form of a supplement or extract that you can take orally or in tea form, but milk thistle is actually a flowering herb that has been used for over 2000 years as a natural remedy for liver conditions. The health benefits of milk thistle were discovered in the ancient times and it was first used as a treatment for liver disorders by Europeans. It has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and it can enable you to detoxify your body in a natural way.

Milk thistle can grow in parts of the world where the climate is warm, and it can be found in southern Europe, southern Russia, Asia Minor, North Africa, and in North and South America as well. Milk thistle is a herb that belongs to the daisy family and it has red to purple flowers and green leaves. When its leaves are crushed, a white milky fluid comes out, and that is how this plant got its name. Although it is a plant, we don’t consume it in such form, but it is rather turned into supplements.

What are the health benefits of milk thistle?

There are many health benefits of this supplement, and one of its widely know beneficial effects is related to treatment of various liver diseases. According to a research conducted by Department of Biochemistry at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences[1], silymarin, a derivate of milk thistle, has a positive effect on reducing ethanol-induced oxidative stress in liver that can cause cell damage.

Milk thistle can also help in lowering high cholesterol, protecting against cancer, controlling diabetes, helping with intestinal issue and it is also very beneficial for the skin.

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1. Milk thistle protects your liver

Milk thistle provides many health benefits for your liver and there are various studies confirming its healing effects. According to a study by VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System[2], milk thistle can promote liver health in liver transplant patients.

Another study by University Magna Graecia in Italy[3] highlights that it can also be used to treat alcoholic liver disease as well as various toxin-induced diseases.

2. Milk thistle protects your heart too

By lowering high cholesterol and raising the levels of beneficial cholesterol, milk thistle can decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease that causes your arteries to be blocked. In addition to that, a research conducted by China-Japan Research Institute of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences[4] discovered that the silibinin, found in milk thistle, has a protective effect against injuries to cardiac muscle cells.

3. Milk thistle helps in controlling blood sugar levels

Milk thistle is a herb rich in anti-oxidants, and thanks to their existence, this herb can help regulate blood sugar levels. A 4-month study[5] on 51 type II diabetic patients confirmed that these anti-oxidant properties had a beneficial effect on the glycemic profile of the patients.

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Another study conducted at Anti-Diabetes Centre in Italy[6] on patients with cirrhosis and type II diabetes who developed insulin resistance showed a significant improvement in insulin resistance due to 12-month therapy with milk thistle.

4. Milk thistle helps to prevent and treat cancer

There is evidence[7] that milk thistle can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in prostate, skin, breast and cervical cells. Furthermore, the combination of milk thistle and selenium has been proven to reduce markers that are associated with prostate cancer progression, as reported by the Department of Urology at University Hospital in the Czech Republic[8].

5. Milk thistle protects your brain

It has been found that milk thistle has neuroprotective properties and the evidence suggest that such properties may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as study conducted in Tokyo suggests[9].

6. Milk has anti-aging effects

This herb can also help in reducing aging effects visible on your skin. As this study[10] suggest, by taking milk thistle, you can reduce skin damage, dark spots, wrinkles, lines and discoloration.

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7. Milk thistle improves bone health

Milk thistle has beneficial effects on bone formation, and evidence suggests[11] it may help both build bone and prevent bone loss. It is also effective in preventing osteoporosis[12] due to estrogen deficiency, which would be of great benefit to postmenopausal women.

Are there any side effects when taking milk thistle?

There are no serious side effects that you should worry about. According to University of Maryland Medical Center[13], side effects are usually mild, and can include: stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea and vomiting.

Yet, if combined with certain medications or other herbs, it can trigger some side effects, so you should always consult your doctor before taking it. During pregnancy and breast-feeding, it’s better to avoid consuming it and also if you are allergic to ragweed and related plants.

How should I consume milk thistle?

You can take milk thistle in the form of supplements, usually in form of tablets or capsules, or you can drink it in the form of tea. When buying supplements, you should always choose standardized and reliable products as they will give you more reliable dose of the product. When taking capsules or tablets drink them with a full glass of water and take them as indicated on the package, but the safest way is to always consult a healthcare professional.

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Some of the recommended supplement brands are Ultra Thistle, which can protect your liver, and protect you from inflammation and scarring; Clinical Liver Support, beneficial for those who want to protect themselves against possible future liver issues; Milk Thistle with Artichoke and Turmeric, for removing toxins from your system.

As milk thistle is available in tea form, if it suits your preferences, you can consume it in the form of a hot drink. You can make your own milk thistle tea, or buy from trusted brands, such as Alvita, Traditional Medicinals and Celebration Herbals.

How much should I take?

There is no standardized dosage yet, but the range for recommended dosage is between 280 to 800 milligrams of silymarin, which constitutes 70-80% milk thistle extract. Most often, recommendations suggest taking 100-200 milligrams per day with your meals.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/ via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] NCBI: Protective effects of silymarin, a milk thistle (Silybium marianum) derivative on ethanol-induced oxidative stress in liver.
[2] NCBI: Alternative therapy use in liver transplant recipients.
[3] NCBI: Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future.
[4] NCBI: Protective effect of silibinin against isoproterenol-induced injury to cardiac myocytes and its mechanism
[5] NCBI: The efficacy of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) in the treatment of type II diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial.
[6] NCBI: Long-term (12 months) treatment with an anti-oxidant drug (silymarin) is effective on hyperinsulinemia, exogenous insulin need and malondialdehyde levels in cirrhotic diabetic patients.
[7] NCBI: Advances in the use of milk thistle (Silybum marianum).
[8] NCBI: The safety and efficacy of a silymarin and selenium combination in men after radical prostatectomy – a six month placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trial.
[9] NCBI: Silymarin attenuated the amyloid β plaque burden and improved behavioral abnormalities in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model.)), as well as multiple sclerosis and age-related diseases((NCBI: Silymarin extends lifespan and reduces proteotoxicity in C. elegans Alzheimer’s model.
[10] NCBI: Silymarin, a Flavonoid from Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum L.), Inhibits UV-induced Oxidative Stress Through Targeting Infiltrating CD11b+ Cells in Mouse Skin
[11] NCBI: Milk thistle: a future potential anti-osteoporotic and fracture healing agent.
[12] NCBI: Antiosteoclastic activity of milk thistle extract after ovariectomy to suppress estrogen deficiency-induced osteoporosis.
[13] University of Maryland Medical Center: Milk thistle

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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