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“Silymarin”, a Promising Pharmacological Agent for Treatment of Diseases

“Silymarin”, a Promising Pharmacological Agent for Treatment of Diseases
From National Library    2023.9.06

Widespread use of herbal drugs because of their protective effects on different organs toxicity has been shown in many studies. These protective effects have been illustrated in the fields of nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, viral hepatitis, cancer, in vitro fertilization, neurotoxicity, depression, lung diseases, prostate diseases etc. Silymarin has cytoprotection activities due to its antioxidant activity and radical scavenging. The possible known mechanisms of action of silymarin protection are blockade and adjustment of cell transporters, p-glycoprotein, estrogenic and nuclear receptors. Moreover, silymarin anti-inflammatory effects through reduction of TNF-α, protective effects on erythrocyte lysis and cisplatin-induced acute nephrotoxicity have been indicated in some studies. Silymarin has also inhibited apoptosis and follicular development in patients undergoing IVF. Basis on such data, silymarin can be served as a novel medication in complementary medicine.

Silybum marianum L. (Milk thistle), a member of Carduus marianum family, is an ancient medicinal plant which has been used for centuries for treatment of different diseases such as liver and gallbladder disorders, protecting liver against snake bite and insect stings, mushroom poisoning and alcohol abuse. This plant can be found in Kashmir, North America, Canada and Mexico with large leaves and a reddish-purple flower that are all thorny and the medicinal part of the plant is either the seeds or fruits.

Milk thistle was first grown in Europe and used as a liver tonic as it was said to be able to open the obstructions of the liver and spleen, and thereby was good for jaundice (Nicolas Culpepper, 1616-1654). Moreover, this herb has been used for centuries as a natural treatment for upper gastrointestinal tract and digestive problems, liver and biliary tract diseases, menstrual disorders and varicose veins.

Liver is the key organ of metabolism and excretion is continuously and variedly exposed to xenobiotics because of its strategic placement in the body. Toxins absorb from the intestinal tract first enter the liver resulting in a variety of liver disorders. Thus, liver diseases remain one of the serious health problems. Liver damage ranges from acute hepatitis to hepatocellular carcinoma, being caused through apoptosis, necrosis, inflammation, immune response, fibrosis, ischemia, altered gene expression, and regeneration

Silymarin possess wide range of in vitro and in vivo mechanisms, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, dose dependent anti-apoptotic and modifying cell transporters. Hence, it can be used as a promising medication in complementary medicine.

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