century Roman naturalist. A seventeenth century English herbalist.
A commission of modern day German physicians and scientists. What
do all these people have in common? They are among those who realized
that milk thistle may play an important role in promoting health.
further appreciation of its health benefits, it is possible to study
milk thistle (as well as other herbs, nutrients and foods) through
the lens of herbal astrology. Through this periscope, we can
further appreciate the ways in which milk thistle may serve to protect
health and well-being.
Thistle is Linked to Jupiter
the planetary ďrulerĒ of Sagittarius and co-ruler of Pisces, is associated
with milk thistle and the phytochemical compounds contained in it.
In mythology, Jupiter aimed to maintain an order of peace in the world
through his role as the supreme god of heaven who omnisciently presided
over everyone, gods and mortals alike. In astrology, Jupiter is recognized
for its energies that greatly expand your horizons, enabling you to
be the ruler of your own domain through a more complete understanding
of the world. As such, Jupiter is associated with areas such as growth,
prosperity, religion and philosophy.
thistle reflects Jupiterian qualities in a variety of ways. Just as
Jupiter was recognized for his aegis, milk thistle also features a
powerful protective shield. Silymarin, milk thistleís active ingredient,
is found in high concentration in the coats of its fruit seeds. Jupiterís
association with religion is also mirrored in milk thistle by virtue
of the plantís Latin name, Silybum marianum. Marianum
refers to the Virgin Mary, as it was thought that the white veins
that run through the plantís mottled leaves originated from her breast
Thistle and the Liver
rules the liver, the organ on which silymarin exerts many of its promising
health-promoting effects. Just as Jupiter is the largest planet in
our solar system, the liver is the largest internal organ in our bodies.
The liver reflects Jupiterís role of being the omnipotent protector
as it plays an important role in maintaining health through its involvement
in the detoxification of harmful compounds, the filtration of the
blood and the synthesis of bile.
protects the liver in a variety of ways. It helps to combat free radical
damage to the liver, notably through its ability to increase levels
of glutathione1, an important antioxidant that detoxifies
an array of hormones, drugs and chemicals. In its expansive Jupiterian
manner, silymarin also supports liver health through its ability to
stimulate the growth of new liver cells2. Silymarin also
seems to provide liver cells with a Jupiterian aegis of protection
against harmful compounds through its ability to alter the liver cell
membranes in a way that prevents certain toxins from penetrating3.
these supportive effects, milk thistle and silymarin are sometimes
used clinically to minimize liver damage caused by certain conditions.
Research suggests that alcohol-related liver diseases, hepatitis and
cirrhosis may all be helped by silymarin4. Additionally,
these phytochemicals may help to reduce the liver damage caused by
certain drugs, including some antidepressant and anticonvulsive medications
modern day environment, our livers have the burden of detoxifying
an extensive array of chemicals found in our water, air and food.
Since many of these compounds can stress the body and potentially
lead to ill health, many people take milk thistle supplements for
general health and wellness purposes because of its potential to support
the liverís detoxification functions. Additionally, silymarin may
protect the liver against the negative impacts of alcohol5,
a substance ruled by Jupiter-governed Pisces.
To Use Milk Thistle
currently believe that it is the silymarin constituent that exerts
much of milk thistleís potency, many nutritionally-oriented health
experts recommend that people use a milk thistle product that is standardized
to silymarin content. Much of the clinical research has been done
using milk thistle standardized to 70-80 percent silymarin. According
to the Commission E Monographs, the recognized dosage for standardized
milk thistle formulations for toxic liver damage, inflammatory liver
disease and cirrhosis is 200Ė400 mg per day of silymarin3.
For general support of the liverís detoxification functions, healthcare
practitioners recommend a dosage of half of that amount.
important to always consult a licensed healthcare provider if you
are thinking of using milk thistle or other dietary supplements to
treat any health condition. Additionally, you should tell your healthcare
provider about all of the dietary supplements that you are taking
so that s/he can evaluate any potential drug-supplement interactions.