Milk Thistle Can Liven Up Your Liver, Even in Alcoholism

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“Dear Pharmacist,
I am a recovering alcoholic and now that I’m “dry” I was wondering if there was something that would ease the damage I’ve done to my liver? Can you help?”
–V,L. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Answer: Yes, milk thistle. It is grown in Europe as a vegetable and used in salads. It functions as a substitute for spinach. But it’s not just good food, it’s good medicine. Extracts of the plant can support a healthy liver, a good thing since the liver is responsible for processing everything that goes into your mouth, drugs included.

Milk thistle is a safe, natural herb that can revitalize the liver, even after the damage has been done. And alcohol does some damage. Alcohol is a potent toxin to the liver, and in case you didn’t realize, so are hundreds of drugs, preservatives, pesticides and heavily processed foods. If you decide to take milk thistle, get a good brand that is standardized to 80% silymarin. A note of caution, if you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds or daises, you may be sensitive to milk thistle too.