Liver Detox

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  1. Gazák R, Walterová D, Kren V. Silybin and silymarin--new and emerging applications in medicine. Curr Med Chem. 2007;14(3):315-38.

*Quick Summary of Study: This study aims to further investigate the therapeutic properties of silymarin preparations beyond hepatoprotective nature. Numerous body systems were used in this study as a potential area of benefit from the cytoprotective and antioxidant properties of silybin, a main active constituent of silymarin remedies. The study concludes that in addition to silybin having a great capacity to modulate various cell-signaling pathways this substance may have a benevolent affect on pre- and/or carcinogenic cells.

“This review critically surveys the literature published mainly within this millennium on the new and emerging applications of silybin (pure, chemically defined substance) and silymarin (flavonoid complex from Silybum marianum - milk thistle seeds). These compounds used so far mostly as hepatoprotectants were shown to have other interesting activities, e.g. anticancer and canceroprotective and also hypocholesterolemic activity. These effects were demonstrated in a large variety of illnesses of different organs, e.g. prostate, lungs, CNS, kidneys, pancreas and also in the skin protection. Besides the cytoprotective activity of silybin mediated by its antioxidative and radical-scavenging properties also new functions based on the specific receptor interaction were discovered. These were studied on the molecular level and modulation of various cell-signaling pathways with silybin was disclosed--e.g. NF-kappaB, inhibition of EGFR-MAPK/ERK1/2 signaling, activity upon Rb and E2F proteins, IGF-receptor signaling. Proapoptotic activity of silybin in pre- and/or cancerogenic cells and anti-angiogenic activity of silybin are other important findings that bring silymarin preparations closer to respective application in the cancer treatment. Discovery of the inhibition and modulation of drug transporters, P-glycoproteins, estrogenic receptors, nuclear receptors by silybin and some of its new derivatives contribute further to the better understanding of silybin activity on the molecular level. Silymarin application in veterinary medicine is reviewed as well. Recent works using optically pure silybin diastereomers clearly indicate extreme importance of the use of optically active silybin namely in the receptor studies. Significance of silymarin and its components in the medicine is clearly indicated by an exponential growth of publications on this topic--over 800 papers in the last 5 years.” (1)

PMID: 17305535

  1. Lieber CS, Leo MA, Cao Q, Ren C, DeCarli LM. Silymarin retards the progression of alcohol-induced hepatic fibrosis in baboons. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2003 Oct;37(4):336-9.

*Quick Summary of Study: This study was conducted on 12 non-human primates who were fed alcohol (and a sufficient diet) with or without silymarin for 3 years in order to determine the harm or benefit that this substance may serve. The study concludes that silymarin preparations had a positive benefit within the group in that it helped to retard the bodily harm from regular alcohol consumption. In addition the study suggests that previous studies showing little or no benefit may have show shown positive results had the therapeutic dose been standardized.
“GOAL/BACKGROUND: Hepatoprotective effects of silymarin in patients with alcoholic liver disease are controversial. For strict control, this was assessed in non-human primates. STUDY Twelve baboons were fed alcohol with or without silymarin for 3 years with a nutritionally adequate diet. RESULTS: Silymarin opposed the alcohol-induced oxidative stress (assessed by plasma 4-hydroxynonenal) and the rise in liver lipids and circulating ALT. Alcohol also increased hepatic collagen type I by 50% over the 3 years with a significant rise in mRNA for alpha1 (I) procollagen, both prevented by silymarin. There were corresponding morphologic changes: at 36 months, 2 of 6 animals fed alcohol had cirrhosis and 2 septal fibrosis, with perivenular fibrosis in 2, whereas with alcohol + silymarin, there was only 1 cirrhosis and 1 septal fibrosis, with perivenular fibrosis in 2, and virtually no lesions in the remaining 2. CONCLUSIONS: Silymarin retards the development of alcohol-induced hepatic fibrosis in baboons, consistent with several positive clinical trials. The negative outcome observed in other trials possibly reflects poor compliance resulting in irregular or low silymarin intake. Thus, in view of the innocuity of silymarin, it might be advisable in future clinical studies to insure the controlled administration of sufficient amounts of silymarin.” (2)

  1. Ghosh N, Ghosh R, Mandal V, Mandal SC. Recent advances in herbal medicine for treatment of liver diseases.Pharm Biol. 2011 Sep;49(9):970-88.

*Quick Summary of Study: This study aims to offer clarity as to whether or not medicinal botanicals offer some benefit for liver ailments. The study concludes with a list of known phyto-chemicals that have antioxidant and hepatoprotective activity, thus medicinal plants do have a therapeutic benefit for those suffering from liver ailments.
“Context: Liver disease is a serious ailment and the scenario is worsened by the lack of precise therapeutic regimens. Currently available therapies for liver ailments are not apposite and systemic toxicity inhibits their long term use. Medicinal plants have been traditionally used for treating liver diseases since centuries as the toxicity factor appears to be on the lower side. Objective: Several phytochemicals have been identified which have significant hepatoprotective activity with minimal systemic adverse effects which could limit their long term use. The scenario calls for extensive investigations which can lead to development of lead molecules for hepatoprotective molecules of future. This review deals with the biological activity, mode of action and toxicity and forthcoming application of some of these leads. Methods: These generally have strong antioxidative potential and cause induction of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase, reduced glutathione and catalase. Additional mechanisms of hepatoprotection include stimulation of heme oxygenase-1 activity, inhibition of nitric oxide production, hepatocyte apoptosis and nuclear factor-κB activation. Results and conclusion: Out of the several leads obtained from plant sources as potential hepatoprotective agents, silymarin, andrographolide, neoandrographolide, curcumin, picroside, kutkoside, phyllanthin, hypophyllanthin, and glycyrrhizin have been established as potent hepatoprotective agents. The hepatoprotective potential of several herbal medicines has been clinically evaluated. Significant efficacy has been seen with silymarin, glycyrrhizin and Liv-52 in treatment of hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease and liver cirrhosis.” (3)
PMID: 21595500

  1. Domitrović R, Jakovac H, Romić Z, Rahelić D, Tadić Z. Antifibrotic activity of Taraxacum officinale root in carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Aug 9;130(3):569-77.

*Quick Summary: This study focuses on the potential therapeutic benefit of Dandelion in mice with liver damage. The study suggests that Dandelion has a effect of protecting the liver and also enhancing hepatic regenerative properties.


“AIM OF THE STUDY: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been traditionally used in the treatment of various liver disorders. The present study was aimed to assess the efficacy of dandelion root water-ethanol extract (DWE) in carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4))-induced hepatic fibrosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The mice were treated with CCl(4) dissolved in olive oil (20%, v/v, 2 ml/kg) intraperitoneally (i.p.), twice a week for 4 weeks. DWE was administered i.p. once daily for next 10 days, in doses of 200 and 600 mg/kg of body weight. The degree of hepatic fibrosis was determined by hydroxyproline content and Mallory trichrome staining. Oxidative stress was determined by measuring hepatic superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn SOD) activity. The expression and specific tissue distribution of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), and metallothionein (MT) I/II in the liver were determined by immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS: Hepatic Cu/Zn SOD activity has been decreased in intoxicated mice and normalized in DWE treated groups. MT I/II immunopositivity was strongly reduced in the CCl(4) group. DWE treatment successfully decreased hepatic fibrinous deposits, restored histological architecture, and modulate the expression of GFAP and alpha-SMA. Concomitantly, MT I/II expression increased in the DWE treated groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest the therapeutic effect of DWE on CCl(4)-induced liver fibrosis by the inactivation of hepatic stellate cells and the enhancement of hepatic regenerative capabilities. The present results provide scientific evidence to substantiate the traditional use of Taraxacum officinale root in hepatic disorders.” (4)

PMID: 20561925

  1. Lone IA, Kaur G, Athar M, Alam MS. Protective effect of Rumex patientia (English Spinach) roots on ferric nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA) induced hepatic oxidative stress and tumor promotion response. Food Chem Toxicol.2007 Oct;45(10):1821-9.

*Quick Summary of Study: This study focuses on Rumex patient L. and it potential therapeutic benefit with hepatic oxidative stress and tumor promotion response. The study concludes that Rumex patient L. has a great antioxidant properties and encourages hepatic proliferation in the animal model.


“In this communication, we document the antioxidant potential of ethanolic extract of Rumex patientia L. (Polygonaceae) roots and its chemopreventive effects against Fe-NTA mediated hepatic oxidative stress, hepatotoxicity and tumor promotion response. The extract exhibited high polyphenolic content, potent reducing power and significantly scavenged free radicals (including several reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS)). The extract also significantly and dose dependently protected against oxidative damage to lipids and DNA. These results indicated R. patientia root extract to exert a potent antioxidant activity in vitro. The efficacy of extract was also evaluated in vivo and it was found to exert a potent protective affect in acute oxidative tissue injury animal model: ferric nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA) induced hepatotoxicity in mice. Administration of Fe-NTA (9 mg/kg body weight, i.p.) to mice led to a significant oxidative stress and allied damage in liver tissues and induced hyperproliferation. A significant depletion was observed in GSH content and enzymes implicated in its metabolism. Attenuation also occurred in activities of other hepatic antioxidant enzymes including SOD, CAT, and GPX. Fe-NTA also incited hyperproliferation response elevating ornithine decarboxylase activity and [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation into DNA. Histopathological investigations and liver function tests (LFT) indicated Fe-NTA to cause extensive hepatic damage. However, prophylactic treatment with R. patientia root extract at a dose regimen of 100-200mg/kg body weight for a week not only restored hepatic antioxidant armory close to normal, but also significantly precluded oxidative damage restoring normal hepatic architecture and levels of hepatic damage markers. The data obtained in the present study illustrates R. patientia roots to possess potent antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities and thwart oxidative damage and hyperproliferation in hepatic tissues.” (5)

PMID: 17517459

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