Milk thistle oil is obtained as the by-product during the mechanical processing of Milk thistle seeds. Its isolation is performed by mechanical way in so far that it does not contain any artificial substances even in traces (e.g. solvents´ residues, chemicals, etc.). Due to very mild conditions during isolation the content of natural active substances is kept at the highest level.
Milk thistle oil is non-allergenic substance with many benefits for human health in both internal and external use.
The main use of the Milk thistle oil is as follows:
1) Cosmetic industry
2) Food supplements and functional food
3) Animal feed supplements
The major component of Milk thistle oil is linoleic acid (see Enclosure No.2), well known also as the “essential” polyunsaturated fatty acid from group of omega-6 fatty acids. This fatty acid is chemically built mainly in form of triglycerides. On the other hand, the content of saturated fatty acid is lower in comparison with the other plant oils containing substantial amount of linoleic acid. This composition is very important not only with respect of classifying of Milk thistle oil as the strong source of linoleic acid but also concerning its physicochemical properties. Beside the triglycerides part of oil, in virgin oil we can find a significant amount of (about 5% w/w) of mono- and diglycerides which increase the total oil polarity. This property is very important for the spreadability of the preparations made of Milk thistle oil. Thus, Milk thistle oil belongs to very polar oils, such as e.g. avocado oil. The spreadability of Milk thistle oil is comparable with the esters of fatty acids with medium chain alcohols, e.g. decyl oleate. Polar oils in general have a much better ability to act as the carriers of biologically active substances. Their behavior in the skin is closer to sebum properties than the behavior of paraffinic oils. Due to these facts Milk thistle oil exhibits some excellent properties as the part of dermatological preparations.
The unsaponifiable part of Milk thistle oil represents approximately 1% w/w of the oil. This fraction is rich on phytosterols which are proven to be anti-ageing and moisturizing agents. The phystosterol fraction consists mainly from beta-sitosterol and delta-7-stigmasterol; delta-5-avenasterol, stigmasterol and campesterol are present as the minor substances.
The Milk thistle oil is considered as the one of the rich source of the natural vitamin E and its derivatives. Beside this type of substances it contains also special kind of flavonoids (flavonolignans) which contributes to high anti-oxidant potential of the oil and protection of the skin supporting its regeneration. Thus Milk thistle oil is suitable especially for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations intended for sensitive and irritated skin like in new born babies, children, people suffering from atopic eczema, psoriasis, diabetic patients etc.
In case of the internal use Milk thistle oil can represent a substantial source of essential linoleic acid. This acid is the crucial entity for the further biosynthesis of other biologically active substances like prostaglandins, prostacyclins, tromboxanes etc. which are responsible for the regulation of the human metabolism. On the other hand linoliec acid is directly incorporated into cells membranes in all the human body and can be considered as the one of the basic constituent of our body. Linoleic acid is found as a part of many other active structures - liposomes, particular compounds of the lipids and cholesterol metabolism etc. At last but not al least we can take into our consideration that linoleic acid is a strong antioxidant. This property create a shield in our body against negative influences of the oxygene-radicals and other aggressive principles which destroy human cells and which are responsible for fast ageing of the body and can be considered as the reason for the serious illnesses, commonly known as the “civilization disorders”. On the other hand, regular and proper intake of linoleic acid in the food can improve the liver functions, fat metabolism and can even help during the treatment of such serious disorders like e.g. diabetes.