Have you ever had too many drinks and woke up the next morning with unpleasant symptoms? If you’ve ever had a hangover, you probably started looking for a quick cure. One of the most popular natural hangover remedies is milk of thistle.
What is a hangover?
A hangover is a temporary condition that is caused by consuming too much alcohol. Hangovers are also somewhat complex. Their severity depends on what type of drinks you consumed, how much you drank, and your individual alcohol tolerance level on any given day. You will probably never have two identical hangovers. Some of the things that influence the severity of a hangover include:
- Dehydration: Headaches and a dry mouth are common symptoms of a hangover. These are usually caused by dehydration. Alcohol contains a diuretic, ethanol. It may have you making frequent trips to the bathroom, and it will leave you feeling dehydrated the next morning.
- Type of Alcohol Consumed: Some types of alcohol may make the symptoms of a hangover worse. This is due to the by-products produced by the fermentation process. These by-products called congeners are usually found in wine and whisky. They make the drink taste great and smell good, but they are poisonous to the body. The body tries to remove the toxic chemical additives, and you may feel sick to your stomach.
- Your Mood: How you feel and the mood you are in can affect how severe your hangover is. You may feel a mild headache, extreme thirst, fatigue, sweat profusely, have tremors, or experience anxiety.
There isn’t a miracle cure for a hangover yet, but some natural remedies like milk of thistle may offer some hope for speeding up the recovery process and help to relieve your symptoms sooner.
What is milk thistle?
The milk thistle plant is a flowering herb that is related to ragweed and the daisy family. The extract of this plant has antioxidant properties. Other names of the milk thistle plant include Mary thistle and holy thistle. It’s thought it provides protection for the liver. Because of its ability to protect the liver, it helps eliminate some hangover symptoms. It may also be beneficial for helping relieve long-term effects of heavy drinking in both the kidneys and liver. Milk of thistle also has strong anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-antioxidant properties. Dosages range from 175mg up to 1,000mg. It can be taken as an oral supplement, or it can be consumed as tea.
What Milk Thistle Does for the Body
Silymarin is the active ingredient in milk of thistle. It has direct roles, and many uses in the body including:
- Supports the function of the liver
- Encourages the production of “good” cholesterol
- Helps maintain normal/regular kidney function
- Helps protect the body from free radical damage
- Promotes overall health of the immune system
Recent research also indicates that milk thistle’s active ingredient works well with traditional therapies for liver disease like jaundice, cirrhosis, and hepatitis. It’s also helpful for some gallbladder disorders. It’s essential to have a liver that is properly functioning. It helps keep your metabolism working properly, balances hormones, cleans the blood, helps with digestion, and is essential for good circulation.
Is milk thistle safe for hangovers?
Milk thistle’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help provide relief from hangover symptoms. Milk thistle has been safely used to detox and cleanse the body which makes it beneficial for ridding the body of unwanted toxins after a night of drinking. When it is combined with other nutrients like vitamins B, C, D, E, curcumin, taurine, and CoQ10, hangover symptoms can be greatly reduced.
A few studies have indicated that milk thistle is generally tolerated well. There may be a few mild side effects like nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Check with your primary care to make sure it will not interact with any medications you may be taking. You may want to avoid milk thistle if you:
- Are pregnant due to lack of research of its effect on pregnant women
- Are allergic to the Asteraceae plants or Compositae family – including ragweed
- Take medications to manage blood sugar. Milk thistle may work to lower blood sugar
Other Health Benefits of Milk Thistle
The ways milk thistle benefits the liver and kidneys has already been discussed, but there are other possible benefits to enjoy too. The antioxidant silymarin in milk thistle seems to block the reception of toxins in cells, which is helpful for hangovers, and it may reduce fibrosis. Here’s a look at some other benefits to consider.
Milk Thistle Seeds
The seeds of the milk thistle plant can be cold-pressed to produce an oil that is rich in linoleic acid. This is an omega-6 fatty acid that our bodies cannot produce, so it must be obtained by our diet. The oil contains a lot of vitamin E which helps strengthen the eyes and the skin while boosting the immune system.
Milk Thistle and the Brain
The anti-inflammatory properties of silymarin may help protect the brain from age-related deterioration. It is unclear yet, but early studies indicate that silymarin slows oxidative damage in the cells of the brain.
Milk Thistle and the Skin
Milk thistle may have a preventative effect against some types of free radicals. Scrubbing your skin with milk thistle oil may provide a conditioning effect. It nourishes the skin while helping it regenerate.
Bone diseases often lead to fragile and weak bones that are prone to break easily. Milk thistle helps support healthy bones and may be useful for preventing age-related bone loss.
The Antioxidant Master
Silymarin, the primary ingredient in milk thistle, is a flavonoid antioxidant. When compared with the two famous antioxidants, vitamins C and E, it’s even more potent. Milk thistle works throughout the body to support healthy aging of cells.
Milk Thistle Supplements
Is milk thistle a hangover cure? For many people, yes. But taking a milk thistle supplement may offer a whole lot more than helping you feel better the morning after you’ve over-indulged. It is one of the most well-researched supplements. It is safe for most people and definitely worth keeping on hand.