Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a perennial herb believed to have medicinal properties. The seeds contain silymarin, a group of compounds said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Milk thistle is commonly used as a home remedy to treat liver problems, often under the presumption that it will “detoxify” the liver.
Although milk thistle is most often used for liver conditions, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, the herb is believed some to prevent or treat high cholesterol, diabetes, heartburn, upset stomach (dyspepsia), hangover, gallbladder problems, menstrual pain and depression.
Milk thistle has been used as a traditional remedy for neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease for over two thousand years.
Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties mean that it is possibly neuroprotective and could help prevent the decline in brain function you experience as you age.
In test-tube and animal studies, silymarin has been shown to prevent oxidative damage to brain cells, which could help prevent mental decline.