Milk Thistle Products Already on Store Shelves can Battle Cancer.

“OFF-THE-SHELF” CANCER CURE?


One of the best known natural therapies for liver disease may hold the key to fighting today’s most common and dreaded cancers.

Silymarin, a constituent of milk thistle (and artichokes), has been used for 2,000 years to treat liver disorders – and that’s still what it’s most commonly known for. But in 1994, researchers discovered that it was also a powerful killer of colon and skin cancer. Since then, laboratory tests and animal studies have shown silymarin’s anticarcinogenic effect against breast and prostate cancers, as well.

The most convincing study I found stated that silymarin “exerts exceptionally high to complete anticarcinogenic effects” against epithelial cells, which can develop into breast cancer. Do you know of any other treatment – mainstream or otherwise – that offers “complete” protection against any type of cancer?

Scientists seem to be so impressed by milk thistle’s power that they’re describing it in terms I rarely see in studies. Words like “exceptional” or “superior” find their way into many researchers’ conclusions. Here’s a sample of what they’re saying about silymarin’s effect on cancer:

“Highly significant to complete inhibition”
“Possesses exceptionally high protective effects”
“Complete inhibition at higher doses”
“Rapid inhibitory action”

Although many studies of herbs center around their eventual development into prescription drugs, one of the researchers participating in several of the silymarin studies says that you can get “cancer prevention by dietary agents.” That means milk thistle products already on store shelves can battle cancer.

You can get milk thistle at most vitamin or health food stores. Buy a standardized version that’s at least 80% silymarin to make sure you’re getting the active ingredient. It’s available in capsules, as a tea, or edible seeds.

If you’re already suffering from cancer or are under a doctor’s care, check with him before taking this or any other herb. Studies show that some chemotherapy agents have a synergistic effect with silymarin and may increase the drug effects. If you’re taking drugs known to cause liver damage (like statin drugs or acetaminophen), milk thistle may help repair and prevent future damage. Again, remember to check with your doctor before supplementing.

We’ll continue to look for more news on this front and report updates to you through your free e-Alert and your monthly Members’ Alert.

Sources:
Mol Carcinog, 2001;30(4):224-36
Carcinogenesis, 1994;15(6):1099-103
Anticancer Res, 1994;14(3A):1113-6
Clin Cancer Res, 1998;4(4):1055-64
Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 1997;239(1):334-9
Cancer Res, 1999;59(3):622-32
Proc Natl Acad Sci, 1999;96(13)7490-5
Prostate, 2001;46(2):98-107
Cancer Res, 2000;60(20)5617-20
Biochem Pharmacol, 2000;60(8):1051-9
Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 2000;276(1):371-8