January 15, 2002 by  
Filed under Database



Silymarin is the name given to a flavonoid-rich extract from the medicinal herb milk thistle used primarily for its wide range of benefits on the liver. Widely researched, silymarin has been shown to have considerable liver protective effects, for instance in test animals it is capable of preventing liver necrosis (death of liver tissue) caused by carbon tetrachloride, and death from consumption of the poisonous death cap mushroom. Silymarin can reduce toxic fatty degeneration in the liver, (for instance as caused by alcoholism), and rapidly improves chronic hepatitis, with reduction of the related digestive problems. Good results have been reported in the treatment of cirrhosis of the liver, with bilirubin levels soon returning to normal. Silymarin stabilizes the membranes of liver cells, preventing the entry of toxic compounds and thus preventing damage to these cells. Other reported benefits include inhibition of iron-induced liver toxicity, and damage to the liver caused by the painkiller paracetamol (acetaminophen).

Linda Lazarides is Course Director of the School of Modern Naturopathy and author of eight books on health, nutrition and naturopathy.

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