Milk thistle is an herb with distinctive purple flowers and white veins. It is also referred by the names Saint Mary’s thistle, variegated thistle, and Scotch thistle. Its group of active compounds which is known as silymarin has been found to possess antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and other unique properties. Silymarin is composed of three main components known as silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin. Silibinin is the most active and provides the majority of the benefits delivered by milk thistle.
Extract from milk thistle is often used for liver conditions, high cholesterol levels, gallbladder problems, menstrual pain, diabetes and may even help people with cancer.
How Milk Thistle Helps With Diabetes
Diabetes is a life-long condition that affects blood sugar and insulin levels in the body. Natural medicines and using food as medicine is a wonderful way to complement diabetes treatment. Researchers believed that milk thistle can help improve diabetes. There are various studies that can support this claim.
It was found that the herb can help decrease blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Aside from this, it can also improve insulin resistance, a key characteristic of type 2 diabetes. These effects were mainly attributed to one of the compounds in milk thistle that may work similarly to some diabetic medications.
Its silymarin is hypoglycaemic, which means it may help lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity in patients of type-2 diabetes.
Moreover, a double-blind clinical trial result showed that patients who consumed 200 mg of silymarin thrice daily for about four months had drastic declines in their blood sugar levels when compared with patients who consumed only a prescribed anti-diabetic drug.
A recent review showed that people who routinely took silymarin have experienced a significant reduction in their fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c, a measure of blood sugar control.
Furthermore, milk thistle also possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help prevent diabetic complications like kidney disease.
Take advantage of this herb’s medicinal benefits by taking a cup of milk thistle tea. Here’s how to make it.
Milk Thistle Tea Recipes
- 1 tablespoon milk thistle seeds or 1 1/2 milk thistle leaves
- 1 to 3 cups of water
How To Prepare:
Tea From Seeds
- Crush the milk thistle seeds with a mortar and pestle. Transfer them to a small pan.
- Add three cups of water and bring to the boil on the stovetop.
- Remove the pan from the stovetop. Steep the milk thistle seeds for around 20 minutes, then strain with the sieve.
Tea From Leaves
- Chop 1 1/2 milk thistle leaves.
- Boil water and pour one cup of it over the leaves.
- Steep the leaves for five to ten minutes, then strain.
Drink 2-3 glasses per day.