Milk thistle’s active ingredient is silymarin which reduces free radical production. It is for these antioxidant properties that using Milk Thistle for detoxing can be beneficial. Milk thistle can also be beneficial for the liver, digestive track, and immune system.
What is Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle is now found world wide and is part of the Asteraceae family so it is closely related to the daisy. It can be found under many different ingredient names such as Mary thistle, holy thistle, and variegated thistle; it’s scientific name is silybum marianum. It blooms once or twice a year typically with purple to red flowers and light green leaves. It’s leaves have milk-white veins that produce a creamy liquid when cut (hence the name).
How Does Milk Thistle Help Detox
The effects of milk thistle have limited scientific study. However, scientists believe it can create a detoxifying effect due to its active ingredient acting as an antioxidant. This is why it is often used for those with liver problems and why it is beneficial during a detox.
In addition to helping the liver, milk thistle is known to aid in digestion as well. It can help alleviate stomach pain, nausea, and bloating. It can be common to experience these type of symptoms during a cleanse which is why adding milk thistle to your diet during a detox can be useful.
How Much Milk Thistle to Detox
There is no set dosing for milk thistle during a detox. It is important to read the supplement and or tea instructions for different products and adhere to the suggested serving sizes. It is suggested not to have more than 5 cups of milk thistle detox tea in one day as milk thistle can act as an appetite suppressant.
Milk Thistle Detox Tea Recipe
Since milk thistle is in the daisy family, it has a floral, simi-sweet flavor profile. Many tea companies have milk thistle alone or used in conjunction with other herbal ingredients. You can find milk thistle both fresh and in dried tea leaf form.
For milk thistle tea:
- Bring water to a boil
- Add milk thistle (dried leaves or tea bag) to water
- Take off of heat
- Allow to steep for approximately 20 minutes
- Strain or remove tea bag
- Enjoy with creamer, milk, a squeeze of lemon or honey
Potential Milk Thistle Side Effects
As with any herb or supplement, side effects will vary depending on each individual. Some common side effects of milk thistle can include: gas, itchy skin, allergic reactions, and loss of appetite. The side effect of suppressed appetite is why milk thistle is also often used in weight loss plans. Milk thistle can mimic the effects of estrogen and thus is not recommended to those with breast cancer or those with already too high of levels of estrogen.