Milk thistle, or silymarin, has long been used as a botanical treatment for liver disease. In 2007, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, published a study showing that a biologically active component of milk thistle has significant effect against liver cancer cells (see brief summary below).
Compound of milk thistle (silymarin) has a significant anti-cancer effect
Dr. Ke-Qin Hu and his research team at the University of California, Irvine recently published a study showing the significant anti-cancer effects of silibinin, a major biologically active compound of milk thistle (aka silymarin). Milk thistle has a long tradition of use as a remedy for liver diseases, is generally safe and well-tolerated, and is also known to protect the liver from drug or alcohol-related injury. (Silibinin is purified from milk thistle, with a defined chemical structure and molecular weight.)
Dr. Hu is an experienced research scientist and physician in the field of hepatology. He has published over 70 scientific journal articles, many focused on viral hepatitis B and C, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
Dr. Hu and his research team found that silibilin can significantly reduce the growth of several human hepatoma cell lines. These findings suggest that silibinin can be used to prevent the development of liver cancer, one of the most common cancers worldwide.
Lah JJ, Cui W, Hu KQ. Effects and mechanisms of silibinin on human hepatoma cell lines.
World J Gastroenterol 2007; 13(40): 5299-5305