About milk thistle
A flowering plant belonging to the aster family, milk thistle is originally believed to be native to the Mediterranean region. It’s an annual or biennial plant many will have seen without ever considering it anything more than a weed and a nuisance. Especially if you’ve been scratched by its spiteful spines as I have on occasion!
It’s perhaps hard to believe then that milk thistle is a plant known to have been used medicinally for in excess of 2,000 years. It’s been a favourite of apothecaries since the times of the Roman Empire. And that it’s actually still being cultivated specifically for the remarkable medicinal properties of its seeds.
But what about milk thistle for dogs, you ask?
Benefits of milk thistle
Milk thistle is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory-rich. Its seeds helps support a healthy immune system. It’s particularly ideal for dogs suffering from irritable bowel disease (IBD) because of its ability to thin the bile.
That said, its primary use is to help a dog recovering from a liver condition such as liver disease. Silymarin, its active compound, has the ability to safely assist in detoxifying and regenerating the damaged organ. It protects the liver against toxins and, remarkably, stimulates the growth of new liver cells to replace those that are already damaged or dead.
This amazing plant can also be used for supplementation after heartworm treatment, is believed to help protect against cancer and is even used in the treatment of diabetes.
All that said, milk thistle for dogs is not a preventative herb. It cannot prevent the likes of liver disease. In small, occasional doses, it may be beneficial to your healthy dog. But its benefits are best kept in reserve, in the unlikely and unfortunate event that your best friend is unlucky enough to suffer from liver disease at any point in his or her life.