Milk Thistle and Acne Information
Milk thistle and acne preparations have helped many acne sufferers manage their acne.
Milk thistle, also known as St Mary's thistle, or the botanical name of silybum marianum, is a liver tonic, and this is why it is so effective for acne sufferers.
The active constituents are flavolignans that are collectively known as 'silymarin'. The most effective milk thistle and acne preparations are standardised to 80% silymarin.
Milk thistle helps the liver regenerate 4 times faster than normal. It also lowers blood lipids, increases the flow of milk for lactating mothers, and increases the flow of bile from the liver and gall bladder. For this reason herbalists use it to treat all manner of gall bladder problems. It both prevents and helps cure liver damage, and reduces the fatty degeneration of the liver.
The herb acts on the membranes of liver cells - it prevents the entry of virus toxins and other toxic substances, including drugs. Thus damage to liver cells is prevented.
Milk Thistle And Acne - The Wider View
The approach of herbalists in treating chronic ailments is different to acute conditions. One's adaptability to stress is lessened, the immune system becomes more taxed. They are considered to be a symptom of reduced vitality. Remedies are chosen that support the body's system - they are nourishing, tonic remedies, designed to strengthen the system. Dosages tend to be smaller, and treatment will take longer. For every year of trouble, treatment can take a month. (Simon Mills)
Herbalists would asses how strong the body's reserves are. Low vitality, and reserves, would be indicated by such factors as prolonged fatigue, broken sleep in the early hours of the morning, night sweating, chronically raised lymph glands, and a weak digestive system. (Mills)
Gentle cleansers are often prescribed because herbalists traditionally believe that what causes an acute condition to become chronic is the failure of the eliminatory functions of the body. So liver cleansers like dandelion, and yellow dock are popular, as are more general cleansers ie. they work on more than one channel of elimination. These include burdock, clevers, nettle, red clover, sweet violet and fumitory. It is important to ensure the bowel is working well when using liver cleansers, particularly if it is sluggish, as it needs to be able to deal with the cleansing process. Psyllium seed and linseed are excellent improving bowel function.
Other restorative herbs to support the generally overtaxed body might include oatstraw, vervain, st johns wort, saw palmetto, evening primrose oil, hawthorn, couch grass, agnus castus, and liquorice.
So acne sufferers may want to consider the wider context of how their whole body is functioning, whether other supportive measures are needed, particularly if this is a chronic or deep seated condition. If in doubt, the best bet would be to see a natural therapist.
Milk Thistle And Acne - Bitter Remedies & How & When to Use Them
Bitter remedies, of which milk thistle is a part, tend to be cooling. They have been traditionally used in the treatment of 'damp-heat' conditions, symptoms of which include thick, opaque sputum, diarrhoea or constipation, nausea and vomitting, scanty dark urine, thirst but little drinking, odorous yellow vaginal discharge, sore watery eyes that are inflamed, and thich yellow coating of the tongue. (Mills)
They are used in chronic inflammatory diseases of the skin, which acne would be classified as. As bitters are tonics, if there is fatigue this is also a good indication for its use. Bitters should not be used where there are 'cold' symptoms (as they are cooling). Symptoms of cold include depressed circulation or metabolic rate, frequent urination, chronic respiratory congestion, arthritis, pale complexion. (Mills)
Bitters tends to work quickly, and results may be more dramatic in the short term than the long term. Other herbs may need to be used if the effect seems to wear off, or to repeat short treatment periods rather than one long continuous period.
Chinese herbalists also make use of a lot of bitter remedies, as anyone who has drunk one of their medicinal teas can testify. Fortunately, if you want to take advantage of an effective remedy that uses a slightly different approach to milk thistle and acne, and doesn't taste bad, click here to read more.