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The Lifesaving, Liversaving Herb

Written by Wellness Club on September 1, 2016 – 11:11 am -

This Herb Saved His Life in 24 Hours

By Nurse Mark


The Lifesaving, Liversaving HerbMr. Chat is a valued employee, part of the security and pest control division at The Wellness Club. He mostly works the night shift, ensuring that our facilities are well-patrolled and free of mice or other vermin. It must be a lonely job, and when we see Mr. Chat in the daytime he is quite vocal – which is how he came to be called Mr. Chat. Dr. Myatt named him Chat when she first met him and that tickled my funny bone since “Chat” is also the French word for cat.  Chat is a grey cat with a clipped ear, proving that he is a veteran of the Feral Cat Program. This feral cat appeared on Dr. Myatt’s balcony (yes, he climbed a tree to get there), and promptly adopted her. He has been a much-loved member of our family for the past two years. So imagine our concern when he stopped eating and turned yellow (jaundiced).

This didn’t happen overnight. At first we noticed him losing weight but we attributed this to seasonal weight change. Working cats who partly hunt for a living and are not overfed often slim down a bit in the heat of summer. Then we noticed that he wasn’t eating and wasn’t hunting. He stopped eating entirely, and more telling, he stopped "chatting" to us. Finally we noticed that he was jaundiced. (Much easier to see in a human than a gray cat with yellow eyes!)  Jaundice indicates liver failure and it is a serious matter for man and beast.

We aren’t veterinarians (nor have we ever played one on T.V.,) but we diagnosed Chat with feline hepatic lipidosis (feline fatty liver syndrome) which is a common liver disease in cats. Unlike humans who do quite well with intermittent fasting, several days of not eating in cats can cause this condition. Left unchecked it can be fatal.

The disease has no known cause but it almost always begins when a cat loses appetite and stops eating, forcing the liver to convert body fat into usable energy. Humans do this easily; it is normal human physiology. Unlike human livers though the cat liver is not well-adapted for this task. Under fasting conditions, a cat’s liver soon becomes stressed and can even fail. In cats as in humans, liver failure can lead to what Dr. Myatt and I call a “negative wellness outcome.”

We don’t know why Chat lost his appetite but we knew he was in serious trouble when we noticed the jaundice. He was going downhill quickly, barely moving from the same spot all day. Something had to be done to support his liver and it needed to be done now. Unfortunately there is nothing in conventional veterinary or human medicine that offers significant liver support. Lucky for him, Big Cat Momma (Dr. Myatt) is a specialist in herbal medicine and mentioned that the herb milk thistle is one of her most trusted herbs, performing miracles on the human liver. This benefit is well-documented and supported in the conventional medical literature. In addition, Dr. Myatt has had nearly thirty years of clinical experience with milk thistle. She knows and trusts what it can do.

Here’s the "short course" on milk thistle from our website:

Milk thistle (silybum marianum) has been the subject of hundreds of clinical trials, primarily exploring its role in liver disease but more recently looking at its effects on cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It powerfully protects the liver from the effects of environmental toxins (such as carbon tetrachloride, acetaminophen, iron overload, mushroom poisoning). It is used in Emergency Room medicine in Europe for exposure to liver-toxic agents. Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant, especially to the liver. It also stimulates liver cell regeneration. It has been proven useful for all types of liver disease, including alcoholic liver sclerosis, hepatitis, protection from environmental toxins, and protection from the liver-toxic effects of many drugs.

Dr. Myatt said that in human liver failure, she would put a patient on a fairly high dose of milk thistle (1,000-1,500mg, 4 times per day) and expect to see fast and impressive results. In her words, she would tell a patient with a sick liver to "bathe it in milk thistle." Would it work for Chat the cat?

Humans have different metabolisms than cats and dogs. A cat does not tolerate going without food for very long, yet fasting is OK and even healthy for humans.  We did some research to find out if milk thistle would be safe for a cat.  A quick search of the veterinary literature reassured us that milk thistle would be safe and beneficial. (Please always do such research before giving your pet something that would be good for humans. Some things that humans do well with can be toxic to our fur-babies).

We started with a vigorous dose of milk thistle, one capsule 4 times per day. We used Dr. Myatt’s Milk Thistle Plus formula of course!

In only 24 hours, Chat was noticeably better. He was moving more and looking perkier.  We were optimistic. We continued the same dose on day two and his  improvement continued. Today is the fourth day. Chat is eating, going up and down stairs and looks fairly close to normal. Cats typically aren’t happy swallowing capsules and while at first Chat didn’t have the energy to put up much fuss, he is now objecting much more strenuously to the four times per day dosing! That’s a good sign. The surest proof of his improvement is that he is talking — "chatting"— with us again.

We hope and believe that Chat  will continue to improve and make a full recovery.  Time will tell, but for now it appears that the Milk Thistle snapped him out of liver failure and helped him regain his appetite. He now has a chance to recover from whatever stole his appetite in the first place.

Are we telling you this so you will know how to treat a cat with liver failure?  Heck no, although if it is lifesaving for your cat one day, that’s great.

We Want You To Know What Milk Thistle Can Do For You

Your Liver – A Few Quick Facts

What is it?
Supporting almost every other organ in the body, this largest solid organ weighs about 3 pounds and is actually classified as a gland.

What does it do?
The liver carries out more than 500 functions! – Here are just a few:

  • One of its most well-known and important functions is the breakdown and removal of toxins from the body
  • Metabolizes many substances, including drugs and proteins
  • Breaks down carbohydrates and stores as glycogen
  • Manufactures glucose via neogenesis and works to regulate our blood sugar and manage our energy needs
  • Manufactures cholesterol, a substance vital to life
    Makes bile, an important digestive component
    Makes important blood clotting substances such as albumen, the most abundant protein in blood serum
  • Stores vitamins and minerals: Vitamins A, D, K, and B12, and iron and copper
  • Plays an important role in immunity
  • Synthesizes the hormone angiotensin, vital to maintaining our blood pressure

Liver disease affects 30 million  Americans. An estimated three million alone have hepatitis C, just one of the many human liver diseases. Drug companies have responded with fantastically expensive treatments – upwards of $1000 per pill or $168,000 for a full course of treatment. Despite these crazy costs, this is still a cheaper option than liver transplant and subsequent life-long anti-rejection drugs.

It isn’t just hepatitis C that damages the liver – environmental toxins and many drugs (such as  acetaminophen, aka Tylenol) can be damaging. Alcohol is one of the most common liver insults and though Milk Thistle has been touted as a “hangover cure,” it is really more beneficial for its ability to prevent the alcohol-induced damage in the first place.

Many of our patients take Milk Thistle every day. Dr. Myatt swears by it and we take it ourselves.  It is one of those incredible herbs that doesn’t have a “too much” dose. Its safety profile is excellent. Recent experimental and clinical studies suggest that milk thistle also has anticancer, antidiabetic, and cardio-protective effects. These benefits have been published in conventional medical journals. (see the reference list at the end of this article). 

If you want to show your liver some love — and you should love your live if you like being alive — then consider adding a high quality milk thistle formula to your daily supplement protocol. And for SURE take milk thistle if you ever have liver disease of any kind. It just might save your liver — or your life.


References and further reading:

WebMD, Nearly 3 Million Americans Living With Hepatitis C .

Tamayo C, Diamond S (2007). "Review of clinical trials evaluating safety and efficacy of milk thistle (Silybum marianum [L.] Gaertn.)" (PDF). Integrative Cancer Therapies. 6 (2): 146–57. doi:10.1177/1534735407301942. PMID 17548793.  “Milk thistle extracts are known to be safe and well tolerated, and toxic or adverse effects observed in the reviewed clinical trials seem to be minimal.”

Brandon-Warner E, Sugg JA, Schrum LW, McKillop IH. Silibinin inhibits ethanol metabolism and ethanol-dependent cell proliferation in an in vitro model of hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Lett. 2010 May 1;291(1):120-9. Epub 2009 Nov 8.

Chen CH, Huang TS, Wong CH, Hong CL, Tsai YH, Liang CC, Lu FJ, Chang WH. Synergistic anti-cancer effect of baicalein and silymarin on human hepatoma HepG2 Cells. Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Mar;47(3):638-44. Epub 2008 Dec 25.

Cheung CW, Gibbons N, Johnson DW, Nicol DL. Silibinin–a promising new treatment for cancer. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2010 Mar;10(3):186-95.

Comelli MC, Mengs U, Schneider C, Prosdocimi M. Toward the definition of the mechanism of action of silymarin: activities related to cellular protection from toxic damage induced by chemotherapy. Integr Cancer Ther. 2007 Jun;6(2):120-9.

Momeny M, Khorramizadeh MR, Ghaffari SH, Yousefi M, Yekaninejad MS, Esmaeili R, Jahanshiri Z, Nooridaloii MR. Effects of silibinin on cell growth and invasive properties of a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, HepG-2, through inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation. Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 Sep 4;591(1-3):13-20. Epub 2008 Jun 7.

Post-White J, Ladas EJ, Kelly KM. Advances in the use of milk thistle (Silybum marianum). Integr Cancer Ther. 2007 Jun;6(2):104-9.

Ramakrishnan G, Lo Muzio L, Elinos-Báez CM, Jagan S, Augustine TA, Kamaraj S, Anandakumar P, Devaki T. Silymarin inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in hepatic cancer cells. Cell Prolif. 2009 Apr;42(2):229-40.

Ramasamy K, Agarwal R. Multitargeted therapy of cancer by silymarin. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):352-62. Epub 2008 May 9. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):352-62. Epub 2008 May 9.

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