Milk Thistle Health Benefits

Milk Thistle History

Milk thistle is an ancient herbal remedy, mainly used in European medicine. The plant’s leaves are threaded with milk-white veins. Old legends tell tales of the Virgin Mary’s milk dripping on to the plant’s leaves, leaving potent stains. For this reason, the herb is believed to enhance lactation.

Milk Thistle as an Anti-inflammatory

To date, milk thistle is a valuable supplement. According to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative and Medicine (NCCAM) milk thistle is believed to have protective effects on the liver, improving its functions. It is often used to treat conditions like liver cirrhosis, gallbladder disorders and chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation). The active ingredient is called Silymarin (an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory), which is extracted from the seeds of the milk thistle plant and prepared for use in capsules, extracts and teas.

Milk Thistle for Lower Cholesterol & Blood Sugar Levels

According to the NCCAM milk thistle is thought to reduce cholesterol levels, making it an ideal preparation for those with high cholesterol who desire to reduce their cholesterol through diet and alternative remedies. Other studies have proven milk thistle’s ability to lower blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes (a disease that affects the way the body makes insulin). In addition, the plant may also be effective at staving off insulin resistance, a major characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

Milk Thistle for Cancer Treatment

According to the NCCAM, milk thistle may reduce the growth of cancer cells among those with breast, cervical and prostate cancer. The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Nursing Research continue to study milk thistle for cancer prevention as well as to treat complications in HIV patients.

Milk Thistle for Liver Disease and Cirrhosis

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), milk thistle has been used by herbalists and ancient physicians for the treatment of liver-related and gallbladder conditions. Cirrhosis (an alcohol-related liver disease) as well as jaundice and hepatitis patients may benefit from the use of milk thistle. One of the healing benefits include protecting the liver from a host of poisons.

Milk Thistle Side Effects

Clinical trials have found some minor side effects including upset stomach, diarrhea, bloating and in some individuals, milk thistle has a laxative effect. In addition, some individuals experience allergic reactions. Those with allergies to other plants like chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds and ragweed, are more likely to …

How to Overcome a Denial of Health Coverage

My family moved to the US in the 1970s to flee the communist takeover of Hong Kong. Little did we know that we would face a more ominous opponent here: wealthy and powerful private companies.

Poor but resourceful, we relied on the generosity of relatives living in the US to support usinitially. All nine of us moved into my aunt's house, and it was not long before our Asian work ethic earned us a home of our own. It meant many years of scrimping and saving, but to us, struggle was not new.

Hong Kong's gleaming towers are a recent phenomenon. Today's tourists would not recognize the city 30 years ago.

After World War II, 500 million Asians were left starving by the retreating Japanese Imperial Army. The deprivation continued for decades, well into my childhood. In America, kids who would shortly be my new girlfriends were complaining about rain interrupting their play. In Hong Kong, we had no time to gripe. During torrential monsoon rains, we were happy to find an awning to keep us dry for the night.

My older brother Chi was my best friend in our struggles. Strong, determined and confident, his words of encouragement helped all of us get through the tough times.

All of us had warned him in recent months that he looked exhausted, yet he ignored us on his path upward on what we Chinese call the Golden Mountain.Headstrong and self-reliant, Chi had never taken the time to obtain health insurance.

When I received the call that he had been diagnosed with stage two colon cancer, I was filled with dread.Surgery was needed immediately to save his life, at a cost of nearly $100,000.

Those dark, rainy nights seemed upon us again.

Chinese Americans are often wealthy over-achievers with advanced degrees living in palatial homes. The reality is quite different for recent immigrants. Their success is built on hard work by all family members, often allowing only a thin margin of error.

Insurer after insurer turned down my brother for his "prior condition." Not a factor were his other prior conditions: dedication, long hours and thriftiness, all of which had helped his restaurant supply business finally turn a corner.

Helping him fill out form after form, then translating the ice-cold letters of denial, I reflected on the irony of his situation. America was more than happy to take him when he was …

Easy Tips to Improve Your Health

1. Laugh – Just laughing lowers your blood pressure, burns calories, and helps bond with others. It also helps your body de-stress, and prevent the many diseases that are caused by stress. Laughter has also been found to strengthen the immune system, reduce the amount of pain felt by your body, and relax your all muscles. All this from something that’s free, and you should do anyway to help your mood? It is even been said, that if you laughed one hundred times, it is equalivent to ten minutes on a rowing machine!

  1. Yogurt – Eat yogurt with live or active cultures daily. Or, if you’d rather, take probiotics. This replaces the good bacteria in your body, and can help treat particular diseases, such as IBS, and ulcers. Probiotics also fight against cancer, infections, and high cholestrol. They can even help you lose weight, although I wouldn’t consume copious amounts of yogurt in order to gain weight; if you do not regularly read your food labels, your yogurt might have too much sugar to help your weight.

3.Tea – Drink at least one glass of black or green tea daily. The amount of antioxidants in this drink can help boost your immune system. It is also believed in to improve particular conditions, such as: arthritis, infection, and preventing cancer (in more than one way!). Ingredients in tea also fight dental plaque, prevent blood clots, and help lose weight.

  1. MSG – Avoid it. It goes by many names, and is in a lot of processed food (acting as a preservative). It also causes problems with lots of people – including making existing ailments worse. You can have a reaction to very minute amounts, so avoiding it totally is the best option.
  2. Artificial Sweeteners – Avoid, especially if you a chronic disease, or are trying to lose weight. Despite the fact that it’s in “diet” drinks, any artificial sweetener, the University of Texas Health Care Center has found that artificial sweeteners cause you to crave more snacks, especially sugary (and probably high in calories) snacks.

6.Honey – Use honey instead of sugar or any artificial sweetener. Honey has been proven to heal wounds, and if you have allergies, consuming two tablespoons a day starting two months before allergy season. It is also supposed to help if you chew beeswax for at least five minutes.
7. HEPA Filter – Using a …

Packers Healthy, Will Play in Honor of Grieving Philbin

In preparation for their upcoming NFC divisional playoff matchup against the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers returned to practice healthy, but also mindful of the tragedy that struck the family of their offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin, earlier this week.

"This is as healthy as we've been in quite some time," Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said during his Wednesday post-practice press conference. McCarthy said the bye week the Packers earned as the NFC's top seed allowed them to "get guys healthy and get guys fresh," a significant advantage heading into Sunday's game at Lambeau Field.

In particular, McCarthy said that Chad Clifton, the Packers' veteran starting left tackle who missed several weeks during the regular season with hamstring and back injuries, should be ready to play a complete game against the Giants. Clifton was limited to first half action against the Detroit Lions during the final game of the regular season as the Packers sought to get him back to full speed. Clifton's readiness would be a welcome development for a team whose offense will depend heavily on protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Giants' fearsome defensive front four, which includes All-Pro Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora.

Yet, not far from the minds of the Packers players was the absence of Philbin, whose 21-year-old son Michael died tragically earlier in the week. McCarthy revealed that Philbin will be away from the Packers indefinitely and will "return when [Philbin] feels he's ready to return."

Speaking to reporters in the locker room after practice, Packers Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews said, "We all feel for Coach Philbin. . . . This game will definitely be played in his honor and we wish him the best."

Rodgers also talked to reporters saying, "We're all affected when your football family deals with tragedy."…