As we move into warmer, sunnier spring days, it is a great time to think about the body’s unsung hero – the liver. The liver works extremely hard to keep you healthy, playing a key role in metabolism, nutrient storage, healthy digestion and detoxification. As nutrients are absorbed into the blood from the digestive tract, the first place they go is the liver. The liver then filters the blood, metabolizing harmful toxins such as alcohol, food additives, pesticides, and bacterial toxins before allowing the blood to enter general circulation.
Despite our best efforts, most of us are exposed to a lot of environmental and dietary toxins, such that our livers could use a little extra support. A gentle cleanse using milk thistle seeds is a fantastic way to give your liver an extra boost this spring. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a plant that has a particular affinity for the liver and has been used for over 2000 years to support healthy liver function. One of the most important constituents in milk thistle is the silymarin complex, which is highly concentrated within the seeds. Silymarin is a mixture of structural isomers that directly protect the liver from damage, regenerate injured liver tissue, and help the liver to neutralize toxins.
Using Milk Thistle
- If directly consuming the seeds, they need to be freshly ground into a powder using a high-speed blender or coffee grinder, in order to maximize absorption in the digestive tract
- Milk thistle can also be taken effectively as a tincture or a standardized extract capsule.
Most importantly, your naturopathic doctor at the BNMC will be able to advise you on the best way to incorporate milk thistle into your life this spring.