Support Organs of Elimination (i.e. the liver) … Achieve Beautiful Skin.
One of my favorite hacks for beautiful, clear skin is milk thistle. Why is this herb great for our complexion? First, it’s important to understand the major function of our skin. Our skin, and all its layers, is the largest detox organ–channel of elimination–in the body (there are a total of 7 channels of elimination in the body). It is imperative to keep all of our detox pathways clear, healthy and properly functioning, so that toxins don’t have the chance to accumulate or build up in any one of these channels. If we have a build up of toxins in any of our channels of elimination, things like acne, constipation, blood clotting or yellow eyes, also known as jaundice, can occur. In this post, I will share the benefits of milk thistle, how it supports and repairs our liver (our most important detox organ), ways to use this amazing herb and why it is so powerful for beautiful skin.
Benefits of Milk Thistle
The reason why this herb can be so beneficial and supportive for the skin is because it has powerful properties for cleansing the liver, which is our most important detox pathway. If your liver is not working properly from drinking too much alcohol or smoking, etc., you can kiss your gorgeous complexion good-bye. The key to milk thistle’s powerful properties is a flavonoid (antioxidant) called silymarin, which is the substance that makes this herb so ideal for kicking disease in the royal behind. Silymarin helps prevent toxins from binding in the liver and protects against liver scarring. (Mercola)
Milk Thistle Supports the Liver, which Supports Healthy Detox and therefore, Beautiful Skin!
The following benefits of milk thistle have been sited…
- Cleanses & Repairs the Liver (may reverse fatty liver)
- Cleanses the Blood, Kidney’s & Gallbladder
- Supports Skin Health (eczema, psoriasis, acne)
- Aides Diabetes & Blood Sugar Balance
- Reduces Excess Iron Stored in the Liver
- Aides Brain Health (Neuroprotective)
- Prevents Certain Cancers
- Protects Against Gallstones
- Reduces Inflammation
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Boosts Immunity
*Keep in mind, these benefits are readily seen when combined with a whole foods diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are taking any prescription drugs, it is important to first discuss with your licensed health practitioner, naturopathic doctor or nutritionist before taking a new herbal supplement.
Signs of a Weak Liver
- Chronic Constipation
- Jaundice (yellow eyes)
- Blood Clotting
- Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
- Feeling sick after consuming alcohol
- Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis
Contributing Factors to Poor Liver Function
- Overconsumption of Alcohol
- Some Prescription Meds
- Some over-the-counter meds
- Fatty Foods (too much saturated fat)
- Too Much Salt Intake
- Street Drugs/Marijuana
- Poor Eating/High Caloric Intake
- Tobacco Usage
- Too Much Vitamin A
- Toxin Overload (Environmental, Cosmetics, Plastics, Food, etc.)
Note: Acne medications like Accutane or excessive Vitamin A can damage the liver and therefore throw your most important organ of elimination out of balance. If the liver is damaged, and therefore not able to work fast enough to get rid of excess toxins, your liver may resort to other organs of elimination for help, like the skin, to dump toxins. Thus, this is how we get pesky skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and eczema. It’s also important to make sure your immune system and liver have the proper tools (vitamins and minerals) to fight viruses and/or detox excess toxins to avoid imbalance in the body.
Read more about the importance of the liver here.
Common Ways to Use Milk Thistle
- Alcohol-Free Tincture
The easiest way to use milk thistle is to put liquid drops into your water in the morning on an empty stomach, so it goes straight to your liver for support and cleansing. I use this brand because it is alcohol-free and easy to dose. Another option is to buy milk thistle capsules, which are also really quite easy if you are good about remembering to take supplements (not everyone is). Moreover, you can brew milk thistle in tea form. My favorite brand of herbal teas is Traditional Medicinals and you can find this tea brand almost everywhere. Lastly, you can purchase milk thistle seeds in bulk, crush the seeds and cook with them. Unless you have a chronic liver condition or know your liver is in need of major repair, it is not necessary to take milk thistle continuously, but now and then can be very beneficial for maintenance, clear skin and/or optimal health.
*Please check with your doctor or nutritionist before supplementing any new herb to ensure it will not interfere with medications you may be taking or if you are pregnant or nursing.
Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2015). Foundations of Nutrition. Berkeley, CA: Bauman College.
Bauman, E. NC102.3 Digestive Physiology (Power Point Slides). Retrieved from Bauman College: http://dashboard.baumancollege.org
Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.
“10 Benefits of Milk Thistle.” Daily Natural Remedies. Retrieved at http://dailynaturalremedies.com/10-benefits-of-milk-thistle/9/
Mercola. (2015) “Magnificent Milk Thistle.” Retrieved at https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/14/milk-thistle-benefits.aspx
Cutler, N. (2011) “Does Milk Thistle Have Contraindications?” Retrieved at https://www.liversupport.com/does-milk-thistle-have-contraindications/