Milk thistle seed is used to treat and prevent liver problems. Silybum mariunum is the only species of milk thistle that has prven to be therapeutic, yet there are a number of supplements available for consumption. There have been a number of testing, clinical studies, and research done on milk thistle supplements. Some of the research and clinical studies have shown that the supplements can be useful in treating: cirrhosis, food poisoning, and hepatitis. Depending on the type of treatment you are using the supplements for, there are a variety of options to choose from. These are some of the most common forms of milk thistle.
Food & Tea Varieties
Dried milk thistle seeds are generally used to produce teas, and can be easily ground and used in different food dishes. The dried seeds which are used to produce tea, or to be used for different dishes are commonly used to help enhance liver regeneration, after toxic chemicals were ingested or the individual was exposed to toxic elements, other poisons, or to high doses of radiation. Although the dried seeds aren’t the preferred method for treating liver conditions, they are potent enough to treat toxicity, and contact with other harsh chemicals.
Companies also produce capsules of dried milk thistle, which are standardized, and contain a specific level of silymarin. Depending on the dosage of silymarin in each capsule, the uses may vary for each individual. When sold in tablet form, the dosage is usually not standardized, as is the case with capsules sold by manufacturers.
Supplement form -
Milk thistle is often combined with other supplements or herbs, which are also beneficial to the liver. By increasing dosage, and incorporating other herbs which are beneficial, this can make these combined supplements more beneficial for treating certain liver conditions, protecting the liver, or helping eliminate toxins from the liver.
Powder/ Protein Supplement Blend
Just like protein powders, you can also purchase milk thistle powders which can be mixed as a shake, or mixed directly with water for consumption. The dosage per scoop will vary, depending on who the manufacturer is. This form of milk thistle, like a liquid extract, is more easily absorbed in to the bloodstream, and easily assimilated by the body. They typically help cleanse, purify, and repair the liver. Liver cell health is also promoted with continued use of the powder form.
Milk thistle can also be taken as a liquid; the main benefit of doing this is that it goes directly in to the bloodstream and does not require a certain period to pass through the digestive tract, prior to providing certain benefits once ingested.
Benefits of the Different Forms
The benefits with most forms of milk thistle are fairly similar. All are intended to help reduce toxicity build up, help promote healthy cell growth and production, and with continued use, milk thistle has been found to help reduce or reverse certain forms of liver damage. But, some forms are more potent than others. Namely the liquid forms and extracts and powders, as they pass through the bloodstream directly. This means they will be digested a little quicker in your system, and you will feel the benefits immediately.
With capsules, you receive the benefit that the dosage is controlled, and you will receive the recommended daily dosage when consuming the milk thistle; this is not the case with tablets, as companies are not required to provide a specific dosage when producing capsules. Further, with tea, herbalists suggest against making milk thistle in this form, since the constituents do not blend well in hot water, meaning it is not as potent as other methods of consumption.
All forms of milk thistle are intended to produce the same benefits. They are meant to help with cleansing, help eliminate toxicity, and help to reduce or reverse certain liver conditions one might be suffering from, with continued use. But, like every other supplement or medication, some forms of the milk thistle are more potent than others. If you want quick acting, immediate results, it is best to look for liquid extracts or powder blends, for immediate consumption in to the bloodstream. These forms will work faster, and users will realize the benefits far sooner than the other forms of milk thistle available for consumption.