Let me tell you a quick story. If you are wondering how to make milk thistle extract, you may have seen the plants growing in fields around your home. In the US, Australia and New Zealand, it is considered a troublesome invasive weed. The medicinal activity is not well recognized and the plant is toxic to cattle and sheep.
In Europe, fields of the plants are cultivated specifically for use in supplements and botanical remedies. The seeds are harvested and the medicinally active constituents are extracted. After purification, it is possible to have extracts containing a 70-85% concentration of silymarins, the flavonoids with antioxidant activity that are found only in milk thistle’s seeds.
Is it possible to create these kinds of extracts at home? Anything is possible, but it seems a bit impractical.
In order to make a single pound of the extract, 70 pounds of seeds, which are tiny, would need to be gathered. If you wanted to take the extracts on a regular basis to support liver health or for other purposes, you would need to gather a lot of seeds.
But, first you would have to wait for the seeds to appear and ripen. That happens at the end of summer, about two to three weeks after the flowering.
Once you had the seeds, you would need something of a recipe for how to make milk thistle extract. Solvents are typically used.
It is possible to grind the seeds in a standard coffee grinder. About 2-6% of the seeds are silymarins. Other nutrients, including essential fatty acids and fiber would be present, but only the concentrated extracts have proven beneficial for the health of the liver.
Sometimes, we need to leave things up to the experts. They know how to make milk thistle extract safely. They use a variety of purifiers to insure that any toxins are removed and only the “good stuff” remains.
You really don’t know what has been on the plants in your neighborhood. If you grew them professionally, you would be able to monitor things like that, but gathering the wild plants would be risky, at best.
Even determining the potency would be impossible, without scientific tools. A complete laboratory would be needed to verify the purity, if you wanted to check for toxins in the parts per billion or parts per trillion.
If you are wondering how to make milk thistle extract, you have probably heard about the health benefits. Silymarins have antioxidant, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity, but there is a problem with bioavailability that only a good supplement manufacturer can address.
When we talk about bioavailability, we are talking about the absorption of a drug or nutrient into the bloodstream. Although many plants have medicinal activity, their effectiveness varies, because they are not well-absorbed.
A good supplement is good for the skin, liver, immune system and all of the cells of the body, because the manufacturers know how to make milk thistle extract and how to enhance its bioavailability. If you need more convincing, do a little more research. It’s a good investment of your time.
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