Deathcap mushrooms (Amanita phalloides), accidentally ingested by foragers, usually kills within days due to liver and kidney destruction, but thanks to milk thistle being administered in hospitals in Europe and America – lives are saved! Intravenous administration reduces death by Deathcap mushroom by 50%, demonstrating it’s extreme importance and vital action on the liver and kidneys.
About 8 hours after ingestion of Deathcap, amatoxin starts to take effect – severe abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting occur, often followed by liver and kidney failure. Silibinin, a flavonolignan found in Milk Thistle, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and saves lives by blocking uptake of the Deathcap toxin into the liver cells, interrupting it’s circulation in the body and allowing a reversal of liver failure, even in the most severe cases of poisoning.
Milk thistle can be used to protect liver health and assist detoxification, correct hormonal imbalances and alleviate mood disorders (interestingly the old name for depression – “melancholia”, meaning black bile).
My feeling is that it is good to periodically boost liver health with such herbs, particularly because of the increasing environmental toxins we are exposed to.
New Health Horizons clinic in Thurso and www.botanicahealth.co.uk supply a great quality extract.