Extracted from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, the ingredients believed responsible for milk thistle's medicinal qualities are a group of flavonoids collectively known as silymarin and are mainly responsible for guarding the liver from oxidative damage. Silymarin alter the structure of the outer cell membrane of the hepatocytes (liver cells) in such a way as to prevent the penetration of the liver toxins into interior of the cell and may even promote the growth of some types of cells in the liver. Silymarin is also thought to prevent inflammation of the liver. It has been used in the treatment of conditions such as fatty degeneration of the liver, jaundice, psoriasis, menstrual difficulties and varicose veins. It has also been used as a uterine, spleen, kidney and gall bladder tonic. There are current studies, inconclusive at present, which indicate silymarin may be helpful in preventing photocarcinogenesis (skin cancer). Ongoing research continues in this area.
Oxidation - A freshly-cut apple turns brown and a copper penny suddenly turns green. What do these events have in common? - they are examples of a process called oxidation. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals - antioxidants stop these reactions.
Hormone - Proteins produced by organs of the body that trigger activity in other locations; complex chemical produced and secreted by endocrine glands that travels through the bloodstream and controls or regulates the activity of it's target organ or group of cells.