Milk thistle is a plant named for the white veins on its large prickly leaves.
One of the active ingredients in milk thistle called silymarin is extracted from the plant’s seeds. Silymarin is believed to have antioxidant properties.
Research on milk thistle use for specific conditions shows:
- Diabetes. Milk thistle might lower blood sugar in people who have type 2 diabetes, but more studies are needed to confirm its benefits.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia). Milk thistle, in combination with other supplements, might improve the symptoms of indigestion.
- Liver disease. Research on the effects of milk thistle on liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis C, has shown mixed results.
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