Beautiful, beneficial, and... a little intimidating? Thistle plants are common flowering plants that typically have leaves with sharp prickles around the flower. Despite their dangerous appearance, these plants can have some incredible health benefits. Used throughout history in traditional healthcare, these plants vary wildly in type and use. Two superstar thistle plants are extremely well known for their wide spectrum of phytochemical benefits: artichoke and milk thistle.
Although artichokes are commonly consumed as a vegetable, this plant is officially a type of thistle. Artichoke extract has been associated with several health benefits, including blood sugar support, facilitating healthy digestion, and supporting heart health.1 Artichoke extract is a source of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as key nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, chromium, calcium, zinc, and iron.2 Beneficial compounds in this plant are suggested to aid the quality and flow of bile from the liver, support liver health, and possibly even help liver cells to regenerate.1
The milk thistle plant got its name from the white-colored bands found on its leaves. This plant contains a group of compounds known as silymarin, which can boost liver cell function to aid in the growth healthy liver tissues.3 Silymarin acts as an antioxidant by reducing the impact of free radicals. It can also act as a toxin-blocking agent by reducing the binding capability of toxins.3 Milk thistle continues to be the subject of exciting liver health research due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The combination of artichoke and milk thistle and their powerful phytonutrient compounds provides a one-two punch for liver health and the body’s natural detoxification process. Your liver is a powerhouse of key metabolic functions and is responsible for most of the body’s natural detoxification processes. Your liver is able to detoxify metabolites, synthesize proteins, produce bile, and breakdown, modify, and excrete toxic substances and waste products. Because most of this natural detoxification process occurs in the liver, supporting the health of this vital organ is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your body can naturally cleanse and detoxify itself on a regular basis.
Adding a milk thistle or artichoke extract supplement to your nutritional regimen is a simple step that can make a huge impact on the health of your liver. When selecting a milk thistle or artichoke extract supplement to add to your nutritional regimen, ensure that you are choosing a high-quality formula from a trusted company. Your liver will thank you!
- Ben Salem, Maryem, et al. “Pharmacological Studies of Artichoke Leaf Extract and Their Health Benefits.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands), U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26310198.
- Hebert, Ben. “Artichoke Extract and Its Health Benefits.” Natural Stacks, Natural Stacks, 3 Mar. 2016, www.naturalstacks.com/blogs/news/77971013-artichoke-extract-and-its-health-benefits.
- Abenavoli, Ludovico, et al. “Milk Thistle in Liver Diseases: Past, Present, Future.” Phytotherapy Research: PTR, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20564545.