Monday, November 2, 2009

Milk Thistle

While working in the greenhouse some two weeks ago, I leaned over, and as I straightened up I felt a familiar twinge in my back.

After hurting my back some 15 years ago, it acts up more or less annually now -usually resulting in severe pain for approximately two weeks. During this time I am addicted to heating pads and Advil.

This time, I happened to have an annual checkup, complete with bloodwork, and lo and behold, the liver tests came back high, meaning there might be some liver damage. Immediately I thought it was due to the large amount of Advil I'd been taking. Eventually, a second set of tests were taken, and came back clean.

While I was waiting for the second tests to come back, a friend mentioned milk thistle to me as a liver cleanser.

Turns out milk thistle extract has been used for thousands of years to help clean the liver. It helps to detox and maintain liver health, and canhelp with cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis and even gallbladder disorders.

It may also help lower "bad" cholesterol, reduce the growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical and prostate cancers, and help with type 2 diabetes.

The only warnings I can find in research are directed towards women who are pregnant or breatfeeding, and those who have had endometriosis, fibroid tumors, breast, uterine or ovarian cancers. (Didn't find the exact reason why though).

As usual, your mileage may vary, and it may interact with other medications.

This is the part where I say I have milk thistle growing in my backyard and I make teas or dry my own. I don't. I tend to pull up thistle when I find it in my yard (and I have no idea if it's milk thistle or some other type).

I buy my milk thistle at the store. The dried extract is sold in capsules, and I take one a day. I also take as few Advil as possible, but when the choice is writhing in pain or ruining my liver, I figure I'm dead either way, so I take the Advil.

And now I follow it with a milk thistle chaser.

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