Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) is a plant that naturally supports hormone balance and is considered by herbalists to be one of the best plant allies for liver health. Specifically, Silymarin in milk thistle effects the liver. The seed of the plant is used in herbal preparations, so you may find Milk thistle seed extract or capsules.
You may be asking… what does my liver have to do with hormonal health during pregnancy? Believe it or not, Liver health is key for hormone balance.
The liver’s primary responsibility is to filter toxins from the body. While you may not think about hormones as toxins, they certainly fit in that category when they are circulating in excess. As blood travels through the liver, the liver removes hormones, drugs, and other molecules. Inside the liver, these waste products are converted into inactive forms and then pushed through to the kidneys for excretion. Hormone imbalance and overall health imbalance can happen when the liver is overwhelmed by too many toxins and hormones; in this case, things begin to store in the liver and remain in circulation in the blood… the result is feeling “off”, fatigued, unwell. Morning sickness can be an expression of excess hormones causing problems.
Other amazing benefits:
In addition to stimulating and supporting the liver in detoxification, Milk Thistle also supports digestion by stimulating the liver and gallbladder to secrete bile.
Milk Thistle has also been found to ease depression and may be a helpful support in preventing the baby blues.
After delivery, breastfeeding mammas can enjoy an added benefit… it helps support a consistent breast milk supply.
Why Milk Thistle Seed Should Be a Part of Your Pregnancy Plan:
- Stimulates liver regeneration and cleansing.
- Flushes excess hormones and toxins from the liver.
- Helps the liver heal from assaults by supplements, meds, environmental toxins, etc.
- May help reverse insulin resistance and ease disorders that are tied to it like PCOS, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes.
- Milk Thistle Increases Breast Milk Production
- May ease depression and help prevent postpartum baby blues and postpartum depression.
Herbalists generally suggest using no more than 30 drops of a milk thistle tincture 2-3 times a day in a little water. Milk Thistle has been shown safe for long-term use and there have been no harmful effects reported from limited use in pregnant women. No harmful effects were reported in pregnant animal studies. To determine if Milk Thistle is a good option for you, check with your healthcare provider about use in pregnancy and beyond.
Note: Anyone with allergies to plants in the Daisy/Compositae family should avoid milk thistle.
- Hoffmann, David. (1993). The New Holistic Herbal. Boston, Massachusetts: Element Publishing
- Hoffmann, David. (2003). Medical Herbalism – The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. pp 584. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.
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I’m an inclusive, not scary, totally normal yet heavily qualified yoga instructor and founder of YogaBellies® and the Birth ROCKS Method. I’m trained in self hypnosis and meditation and what I love is helping women (ALL women) enjoy yoga without having to whisper all the time and wear fancy activewear that cost a month’s rent.
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