Milk thistle (Silybum marianun) is a herb that has a number of useful therapeutic effects. One of these effects is its use in the treatment of mood disorders. Milk thistle has been investigated for its effects against obsessive compulsive disorder, a form of anxiety, in direct comparison to the mainstream pharmaceutical drug fluoxetine. In one study researcher administered milk thistle extract (600 mg per day) or fluoxetine (30 mg per day) for 8 weeks to patients with anxiety. The results of the study showed that there was no statistical difference between the effects of fluoxetine and milk thistle. Both treatments were equally effective in slowly reducing the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder in the subjects over the 8 weeks. These results support her studies that show significant improvements in the symptoms of anxiety in subjects taking milk thistle. It has been speculated that the antioxidants within milk thistle confer neuroprotective effects and it is this that allows it to be an effective treatment for anxiety.
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