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Milk Thistle is a flowering plant, in the genus Silybum Adans, belonging to the family Asteraceae, native to the Mediterranean. The herb has been used in traditional medicine in treating liver, kidney, gall bladder problems, etc.
1. Anti-inflammatory/anti-fibrotic effects in liver
In the investigation of Silymarin, a standardized milk thistle extract and its hepatoprotective effect found that Silymarin caused a partial decrease in worm burden; hepatic tissue egg load, with an increase in percentage of dead eggs; modulation of granuloma size, with significant reduction of hepatic HYP content; tissue expression of MMP-2, TGF-B1; number of mast cells, with conservation of hepatic reduced glutathione (GSH). PZQ produced complete eradication of worms, eggs and alleviated liver inflammation and fibrosis, according to "Anti-inflammatory/anti-fibrotic effects of the hepatoprotective silymarin and the schistosomicide praziquantel against Schistosoma mansoni-induced liver fibrosis" by El-Lakkany NM, Hamam OA, El-Madawy WH, Badawy AA, Ain-Shoka AA, Ebeid FA.(1)
2. Chronic hepatitis C
In the evaluation of Silymarin derived from silybum marianum (milk thistle) and it effect on liver function in people infected with the hepatitis C virus, found that there was statistically difference in mean of ALT (108.7 ± 86.6 vs 70.3 ± 57.7) before and after the treatment (p < 0.001). The means of AST were 99.4 ± 139.7 and 59.7 ± 64.32 before and after the treatment with statistically differences (p = 0.004). After the treatment, nine patients were found with negative HCV-RNA (p = 0.004) and statistically significant improvement in results of liver fibrosis markers were found only in fibrosis group (p = 0.015). Quality of life was improved significantly (p < 0.001), according to "Effects of silybum marianum on patients with chronic hepatitis C" by Kalantari H, Shahshahan Z, Hejazi SM, Ghafghazi T, Sebghatolahi V.(2)
3. Hepatitis B or C virus
In the assessment of extracts of milk thistle, Silybum marianum (L) Gaertneri and its effect in patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases found that Eighteen randomised clinical trials assessed milk thistle in 1088 patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases. The methodological quality was low: only 28.6% of the trials reported high methodological quality characteristics. Milk thistle versus placebo or no intervention had no significant effect on mortality (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.53 to 1.15), complications of liver disease (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.09), or liver histology. Liver-related mortality was significantly reduced by milk thistle in all trials (RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.88), but not in high-quality trials (RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.19). Milk thistle was not associated with a significantly increased risk of adverse events (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.46 to 1.50), according to "Milk thistle for alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases" by Rambaldi A, Jacobs BP, Gluud C.(3)
4. HIV-HCV co-infection
In the investigation of Intravenous silibinin (ivSIL), a milk thistle extract and its antiviral effects
found that ivSIL may represent a potential treatment option for retreatment of HIV-HCV coinfected patients nonresponding to PEGIFN+RBV combination therapy. Further investigations on the possible beneficial effects of ivSIL on CD4+ cell counts and HIV-RNA levels are necessary, according to "Successful HCV eradication and inhibition of HIV replication by intravenous silibinin in an HIV-HCV coinfected patient" by Payer BA, Reiberger T, Rutter K, Beinhardt S, Staettermayer AF, Peck-Radosavljevic M, Ferenci P.(4)
In the observation of the active extract of milk thistle, silymarin, is a mixture of flavonolignans and its antioxidant effect found that Exposure to light significantly reduced sprout growth and significantly increased the polyphenol content and antioxidative capacity. The polyphenol content was 30% higher in seeds originating from purple inflorescences than in those from white ones. We thus found milk thistle to be a good candidate source of healthy edible sprouts, according to "The potential of milk thistle (Silybum marianum L.), an Israeli native, as a source of edible sprouts rich in antioxidants" by Vaknin Y, Hadas R, Schafferman D, Murkhovsky L, Bashan N.(5)
6. Type II diabetes
In the demonstration of Silybum marianum seed extract (silymarin) and its antioxidant properties on the glycemic profile in diabetic patients found that a significant decrease in HbA(1)c, FBS, total cholesterol, LDL, triglyceride SGOT and SGPT levels in silymarin treated patients compared with placebo as well as with values at the beginning of the study in each group. In conclusion, silymarin treatment in type II diabetic patients for 4 months has a beneficial effect on improving the glycemic profile, according to "The efficacy of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) in the treatment of type II diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial" by Huseini HF, Larijani B, Heshmat R, Fakhrzadeh H, Radjabipour B, Toliat T, Raza M.(6)
7. Colon cancer
In the analyzing Silibinin, a flavonolignan isolated from the milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum) and its anti-neoplastic properties, found that that silibinin activated also the intrinsic apoptotic pathway in both cell lines, including the perturbation of the mitochondrial membrane potential, the release of cytochrome c into the cytosol and the activation of caspase-9. Simultaneously to apoptosis, silibinin triggered an autophagic response. The inhibition of autophagy with a specific inhibitor enhanced cell death, suggesting a cytoprotective function for autophagy in silibinin-treated cells, according to "Silibinin triggers apoptotic signaling pathways and autophagic survival response in human colon adenocarcinoma cells and their derived metastatic cells" by Kauntz H, Bousserouel S, Gossé F, Raul F.(7)
8. Prostate cancer
In the investigation of the effects of the anti-growth compound silibinin, a milk thistle derivative found that silibinin significantly and dose-dependently inhibited promoter activity at physiologic doses. Total CD44 RNA and CD44v7-10 RNA were significantly decreased; both were also decreased at the protein level. Phenyl-methylene hydantoins (PMH), guanidine alkaloids derived from Red Sea sponges, have the ability to increase cell-cell adhesion in prostate cancer cells and reduce invasion, according to "Cell adhesion molecule CD44: its functional roles in prostate cancer" by Iczkowski KA.(8)
9. Anti-cancerIn the efforts in the last few decades have been successful in providing better and effective treatments against both early stage and localized cancer, researchers found that Silibinin, a popular dietary supplement isolated frommilk thistle seed extracts, is one such natural agent that has shown biological efficacy through pleiotropic mechanisms against a variety of cancers and is currently in clinical trials. Recent preclinical studies have also shown strong efficacy of silibinin to target cancer cell's migratory and invasive characteristics as well as their ability to metastasize to distant organs. Detailed mechanistic analyses revealed that silibinin targets signaling molecules involved in the regulation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, proteases activation, adhesion, motility, invasiveness as well as the supportive tumor-microenvironment components, thereby inhibiting metastasis., according to "Antimetastatic efficacy of silibinin: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential against cancer" by Deep G, Agarwal R.(9)
10. Breast cancer
In the demonstration of polyphenolic silibinin from milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and its antioxidant property found that O(2)(.-) generation induced by silibinin was also related to mitochondria. It was found that respiratory chain complexes I, II and III were all involved in silibinin-induced O(2)(.-) generation. Moreover, it was found that silibinin-induced O(2)(.-) had protective effect, as exogenous SOD markedly enhanced silibinin-induced apoptosis, according to "Silibinin induces protective superoxide generation in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells" by Wang HJ, Jiang YY, Wei XF, Huang H, Tashiro S, Onodera S, Ikejima T.(10)
In the identification of Silymarin is the flavonoids extracted from the seeds of Silybum marianum (L) and its hyperlipemiceffect found that Silymarin enhanced HDL-C in hyperlipemic rats. Further studies showed that silymarin enhanced HDL-C but didn't affect HDL-C, a property of this component which is beneficial to treatment of atherosclerosis, according to "Advances in pharmacological studies of silymarin" by Rui YC.(11)
In the determination of The effects of silybin and tetrandrine on the survival of spontaneously hypertensive rats subjected to acute coronary artery, found that Both silybin and tetrandrine decreased the severity of ventricular hypertrophy. Although there were significant decreases in risk zone and infarct zone in silybin- and tetrandrine-treated rats, the ratio of infarct to risk zone was not changed. The results implies that silybin may be beneficial when used in hypertensive patients who develop acute myocardial infarction, according to "Protective effects ofsilybin and tetrandrine on the outcome of spontaneously hypertensive rats subjected to acute coronary artery occlusion" by Chen H, Chen SC, Zhang TH, Tian HC, Guan Y, Su DF.(12)
13. Kidney failure
In the investigation of a control group (saline, group 1, n = 5) was compared with dogs that were administrated gentamicin by intramuscular injection, at dosage of 20 mg/kg, once daily for 9 days (groups 2-5, n = 5 per group) found that Serum creatinine and urea concentrations were increased significantly and TSAO was decreased significantly in group 2 (gentamicin) compared with group 1(A control group). Serum creatinine concentrations but not urea concentrations were significantly lower in groups 3(vitamin E)and 4(silymarin) than in group 2 (P = 0.001). Serum MDA concentrations was significantly different between groups 2 and 3 (vitamin E) (P = 0.01), 2 and 4(silymarin) (P < 0.001) and 4(silymarin) and 5(vitamin E + silymarin)(P = 0.01), according to "Effect of silymarin and vitamin E on gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in dogs" by Varzi HN, Esmailzadeh S, Morovvati H, Avizeh R, Shahriari A, Givi ME.(13)
1. The herb may interact with other herbs, medication such as Antipsychotics, phenothiazines, Halothane, Birth control pills, etc.
2. Overdoses may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and skin rash
3. Milk Thistle may cause allergic effect
4. Do not take the herb in children, or if you are pregnant or breast feeding without approval from the related field specialist.
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