Chinese Pinyin: Shui Fei Ji Latin: Silybum Marianum
Part of Herb Used: Seed
Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) Uses:*
In herbalism, it is used in cases of liver diseases (cirrhosis, jaundice and hepatitis), gallbladder disease, and is claimed to protect the liver against poisons. Silibinin (syn. silybin, sylimarin I) is a hepatoprotective (antihepatotoxic), antioxidant (radical-scavenging agent), thus stabilizing and protecting the membrane lipids of the hepatocytes (liver cells). Silicristin inhibits the enzymes peroxidase and lipoxygenase. Silidianin is a plant growth regulator. A 2000 study of such claims by the AHRQ concluded that "clinical efficacy of milk thistle is not clearly established".
For many centuries extracts of milk thistle have been recognized as "liver tonics." Research into the biological activity of silymarin and its possible medical uses has been conducted in many countries since the 1970s, but the quality of the research has been uneven. Milk thistle has been reported to have protective effects on the liver and to greatly improve its function. It is typically used to treat liver cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation), toxin-induced liver damage including the prevention of severe liver damage from Amanita phalloides ('death cap' mushroom poisoning), and gallbladder disorders.1.*
- Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk_thistle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silybum_marianum#Herbal_medicinal_research, http://alternativehealing.org/shui_fei_ji.htm
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