The plant silybum marianum is more commonly known as “milk thistle” because of the milky white fluid its leaves secrete when they are crushed. Milk thistle contains silymarin, a substance that protects and repairs damaged liver cells, reduces inflammation and works as an antioxidant. Milk thistle comes in either capsule, liquid or tincture form. However, milk thistle is most beneficial when it is in the form of silymarin phosphatidylcholine complex, as its is absorbed more readily by the body.
Milk thistle products and supplements are often used in helping women alleviate menopause symptoms and have the following benefits:
Regulates, Protects and Repairs the Liver Cells
According to Dr. Emily Kane, author of “Managing Menopause Naturally: Before, During, and Forever”, taking milk thistle supplements can help benefit perimenopausal and menopausal women in regulating the liver, as the body undergoes hormonal changes. A substance found in milk thistle called silymarin, incorporates with the liver cells and prevents oxidative damage on the liver tissue, wards off toxins from liver cells and even repairs liver damage.
These properties of milk thistle make it the ideal liver cleanser, and is highly recommended, especially for those who have heavy alcohol intake, hepatitis, and those undergoing the perimenopause stage of menopause.
According to professor and herbalist Phyllis D. Light, all the hormones produced in the body have to be processed and metabolized by the liver. Thus, if the liver is congested, hormones particularly neurotransmitters or stress hormones, will not function as they should. Furthermore, because the liver is the organ that is associated with anger, frustration and rage. Thus cleansing the liver and making sure it functions properly will have an uplifting effect on the mood, especially during a time when the hormones in the body are unstable, such as during menopause.
“Milk Thistle.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Ed. Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD. 22 Mar. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/milk-thistle-000266.htm.
Kane, Emily. Managing Menopause Naturally: Before, During, and Forever. North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications, 2004. Print
Weil MD, Andrew. “Misinformed about Milk Thistle?” DrWeil.com. Web. 16 Nov. 2010. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA365823.