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Sylibum marianum

ostropestnspThe menacing appearance of Sylibum discourages from picking the plant. However, the plant's extract is an ingredient most favoured in the production of preparations that improve liver performance.

What does Sylibum marianum look like and where does it come from?

The appearance is very similar to typical Polish meadow thistles. It features a long stem with branches at the top that form the spiked cup for the flower which sits at the very top. The purple flowers form heads. Their distinctive feature is the ominous spiked form. The leaves are also uncommon in appearance. With numerous indentations along the edges (which imitate spikes), they stem out alternately to form tongues which enclose the stem at their base. The most therapeutically usable part of the plant are the fruits, which form achenes with cypselas. The cypsela can be twice as long as the fruit itself.

Sylibum marianum originates from the Mediterranean area (Turkey, Southern Europe, Egypt and Israel). In Poland, it occurs usually as a cultivated plant, but there are some wild habitats of the plant in meadows.

Active ingredient content in Sylibum marianum

The extract of Sylibum fruits contains flavonolignans which form the silymarin complex, flavonoids, a polyphenol compound, fatty oil, sterols, mucilage, histamine and proteins. The most valuable for medicine is silymarin (a complex of flavonolignans).

The essential property of silymarin is an antihepatoxic action, i.e. it protects liver cells Silymarin has proven therapeutic properties. A curiosity is that it has even been found to neutralise the harmful effect of toxins of Amanita phalloides, known as the death cap (prompt administration of an infusion with silymarin may save the victim from death).

Therapeutic indications for Sylibum marianum

The capacity of silymarin to protect hepatocytes (i.e. the cells which form the liver) against the negative effects of consumed beverages and meals makes the compound useful in preventing liver disorders. Also in the case of diagnosed liver diseases, such as cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis, it is recommended to take preparations with extracts of Sylibum marianum fruits (e.g. the medicines Sylimarol, Sylivit, Sylicynar and Syliflex). Don't forget that the liver is also exposed to destructive effects of environmental toxins and the negative consequences of strong pharmaceutical agents. These are also indications for taking preparations which contain extracts of Sylibum marianum fruits.

What is the difference between various preparations with the extract of Sylibum marianum fruits?

Some preparations contain the same extract of Sylibum marianum in varying doses: 50 mg (Sylimarol 35) and 100 mg (Sylimarol 70). There are also preparations with additional ingredients. The medicine Sylivit, for instance, also contains a complex of vitamins (in Sylivit 80 and Sylivit 150). The composition allows the drug to be effectively administered in the treatment of post-intoxication conditions. There are also combinations of sylimarin extract with phospholipids (the medicine Syliflex). The addition of phospholipids enhances regeneration of liver cells and provides comprehensive protection of the organ. Phospholipids also increase bioavailability of silymarin, i.e. its absorption by the system. An interesting preparation is the medicine Sylicynar, which, apart from the Sylibum marianum extract, contains extract of artichoke. Silymarin increases hepatic regeneration, while artichoke lowers the blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Cosmetic use of Sylibum marianum

It has been shown that the silymarin-phospholipids complex fights free radicals (the substances which attack, age and destroy the body). The cosmetic product Flexiderm, which contains the complex, ensures effective regeneration of the so-called lipid shield, which protects the skin from over-drying and irritation. Flexiderm is recommended for persons who suffer from atopic skin disorders or dryness of the skin, as well as in the treatment of psoriasic lesions, sunburns, lip sores and insect bites.


Products containing Sylibum marianum

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