Though native to the Mediterranean, it is now found throughout the world and is featuredprominently in traditional botanical medicines of different cultures such asthe Basque, Lebanese and the Germans, as a treatment for liver ailments and tocounter the harmful effects of alcohol on the liver.
Its use and presence in traditional medicine goes back to 2000 years ago when MilitaryPhysician Pedani Dioskurides in the 1st century recommended it for vomiting. Inthe Middle Ages, Hildegard of Bingen listed it as a treatment for stabbingchest pains- now known as pneumonia, while Gerard, a famous European herbalist,in his Herbal of 1597, prescribed the "excellent herb" Milk Thistle,for “melancholia”, a disease traditionally associated with the liver duringthat time. It is also used in managing biliary disorders, jaundice, rhinitis,and high fever and is known to help with milk production in lactating women,earning it its old nickname of Mary’s Thistle or Holy Thistle.
Milk thistleis used to treat liver diseases and in managing urinary disorders. It isknown to be anti-inflammatory and as a supportive treatment for death capmushroom poisoning. According to a study1, Silibinin, a compoundextracted from the seeds of Milk Thistle, is a potent AntiViral Agent inpatients with Chronic Hepatitis C not responding to the usual Interferontherapy. Furthermore, there are clear evidences for its use as a supportiveelement in alcoholic and child grade ‘A liver cirrhosis2. In 2011,the European Commission granted the Orphan Medicinal Product Designation toSilibinin-c2’3-dihydrogensuccinate disodium salt synthesized from milk thistleextract to prevent the recurrence of hepatitis C in liver transplant recipients3.
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2.Rottapharm|Madaus.Media Communications Legalon®. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
3 Saller R,Brignoli R, Melzer J, Meier R (2008). "An updated systematic review withmeta-analysis for the clinical evidence of silymarin". ForschendeKomplementärmedizin. 15 (1): 9–20. doi:10.1159/000113648. PMID 18334810.Retrieved 2010-12-14.