Your liver is a secondary digestive organ that plays an important role in breaking down food into smaller particles so the nutrients can be extracted, absorbed and utilised for energy. St Mary’s thistle has traditionally been used to assist healthy bile flow to help relieve symptoms of dyspeptic complaints or indigestion such as poor digestion, bloating, flatulence and heartburn.
St Mary's thistle is traditionally used for liver and gallbladder health and assists with bile flow. Bile is responsible for breaking down fats. Abdominal discomfort and fatigue can be a few of the non-specific symptoms associated with fatty liver. Fatty liver occurs when fat infiltrates and accumulates in the liver, either when your body produces too much fat or fat cannot be broken down fast enough. Fatty liver congests the liver so liver function is often impaired.
Detoxification with the ‘master antioxidant’ glutathione
St Mary's thistle acts as a liver antioxidant and free radical scavenger that increases glutathione (GSH) levels through its active constituents, known as silybins or silymarin, which are responsible for the therapeutic activity and liver protecting effects of the herb. St Mary’s thistle helps to protect your cells from free radical damage.
St Mary's thistle protects the liver from toxic damage by assisting detoxification and supporting the regeneration of damaged liver cells. Just breathing, eating and going about your everyday activities contributes to a toxic build-up in your body. We are constantly bombarded with toxic substances such as pesticides, cosmetics, household cleaning products, heavy metals, alcohol, toxic residue found in foods, overuse of drugs, environmental oestrogens found in plastics that mimic the activity of oestrogen in the body, and exposure to air and water pollution. GSH supports both phase I and phase II liver detoxification, essential for the detoxification of these toxic substances.
GSH plays another important role in strengthening your antioxidant network by helping to regenerate other important antioxidants such as vitamins C and E after they have been oxidised or ‘used up’ by reinstating them back to their active antioxidant form to continue their antioxidant activity.