American Cranesbill


Anxiety Herbal Remedies




Black Cohosh

Black Currant And Borage Oil


Blessed Thistle


Butchers Broom

Cat's Claw Herb




Couch Grass

Cramp Bark


Dong Quai





Gamma Oryzanol






Gotu kola

Gravel Root




Milk Thistle - Uses and Benefits

Alternative Names:

Milk Thistle; Marian Thistle; St. Mary's Thistle , Cardum marianum L., Carduus marianus L., Chardon-Marie, Emetic root, flavonolignans, Frauendistel, Fructus Silybi mariae, fruit de chardon Marie, heal thistle, Holy thistle, Isosilibinin, isosilybin, Kanger.

Herb Description

Milk thistle ( Silybum marianum ) has been used from ancient times as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver problems. In the United States during late 19th and early 20th centuries physicians used milk thistle seeds to relieve congestion of the liver, spleen, and kidneys. A compound in milk thistle seeds is believed to be the biologically active part of the herb. The seeds are used to prepare capsules containing powdered herb or seed, extracts, and infusions (strong teas).

Milk thistle is an annual or biennial herb which grows upto to 5 feet high. It is a tenacious herb that can be cultivated easily in sunny gardens. Its leaves have white spots and thorns running along the margins & the fruit is blackish to brown, obovoid, spotted, and glossy, with a white long pappus. Its a herb whose fruit and seeds have been used to benefit health more than 2,000 years as a treatment for liver and biliary disorders.

The Roman Pliny wrote of the beneficial effects of Milk Thistle on the Liver. And it was highly regarded by Dioscorides, Galen, Gerard and Culpepper. Lot of research has been taken out on Milk Thistle which makes the Milk Thistle the most used herbs. Species of Milk thistle toxic to cattle and sheep .Because the plant contains potassium nitrate . When this is eaten by ruminants the bacteria in their stomachs breaks the chemical down producing a nitrite ion.This combines with hemoglobin to produce methaemoglobin . Due to this resistance comes in oxygen transport which can't transport oxygen. The result is a form of oxygen deprivation .

Properties :

Hepato-protective :Make strengthens & protects liver cells & from incoming toxins.

Hepato-tonic : Strengthens the liver to function more effectively.

Anti-depressant : By helping to move stagnant liver energy.

Demulcent : Soothes and moistens. For both kidney and bladder irritations, as well as mucous membranes and inflammations of the skin and integumentary system.

Laxative : Mildly lubricates the bowels.

Uses and Benefits

Used as a Liver Tonic to treat cirrhosis, hepatitis and other liver problems as well as skin conditions related to poor liver function.Milk thistle is very effective& generate new liver cells when liver is damaged by alcohol consumption, steroid usage, pollutants, or any other environmental factor.

Milk thistle is used to treat the following health problems:

  • liver disease - Ongoing research suggest that milk thistle may improve cirrhosis and improves the lives of cirrhosis patients.
  • Liver inflammation -Studies of milk thistle for chronic hepatitis caused by viruses or alcohol report improvements in liver tests.
  • Liver damage caused by toxins - Use of milk thistle to treat or prevent liver damage caused by drugs or toxic chemicals.
  • High cholesterol - Research on animal show that milk thistle may lower cholesterol.
  • Amanita phalloides mushroom poisoning - Research support the use of milk thistle for Amanita phalloides mushroom poisoning, based on tradition and expert opinion.
  • Cancer prevention -Various research on anticancer shows the effects of milk thistle for breast, cervical and prostate cancer. At this time, there are not enough studies in humans to recommend milk thistle for these diseases.

Traditional Uses:

Dyspepsia, indigestion, appetite stimulant, gallbladder inflammation, depression, bitter tonic, lowers cholesterol.

Common Uses:

Milk Thistle is a liver detoxifier & used in the treatment of hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice, and Amanita mushroom poisoning.

Milk Thistle the following disorders:

  • Protects the liver from toxins, including drugs, poisons, and chemicals.
  • Treats liver disorders, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.
  • Reduces liver damage from excessive alcohol.
  • Aids in the treatment and prevention of gallstones.
  • Helps clear psoriasis
  • Gallbladder disorders - (especially during pregnancy)
  • Jaundice relief
  • Snakebites
  • Varicose veins
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Psoriasis
  • Hangover relief

side effects

Studies report that some people experience stomach upset, sweating, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness and collapse after intake. There are rare cases of rashes, headaches, heartburn, joint pain and impotence with milk thistle use. Some cases reported high liver enzyme levels in taking milk thistle but returned to normal after the person stopped taking the herb. Loose stools may occur sometimes .

Scientific studies on human reported the following side effects: headache, irritability, minor gastrointestinal upset, and,mild allergies, diarrhea. No serious side effects has been reported after intake of Milk thistle .


The recommended dose is 40 to 60 drops in water or juice three to four times daily .

Dose of milk thistle is up to 250 mg of standardized extract (containing 70% to 80% silymarin) 3 times a day is recommended . It is often added with different herbs and nutrients,like as dandelion, choline, methionine, and inositol.

For preparation of Milk thistle tea, take steep one half teaspoon of the dried seeds in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. This should be used 3 times a day. 1-2 ml of the alcoholic tincture can be taken 3 times a day.

drug interactions

Researchers have suspected that milk thistle can slow down or reduce the activity of enzymes in the liver.

If milk thistle is taken by someone using protease inhibitors or non-nukes, it can increase the levels of these drugs,& causing unpleasant or even dangerous side effects.

One researchers on animal found that milk thistle may increase the effectiveness of aspirin in rats with liver cirrhosis. Whether the same effect in people is unknown at this time .

Milk Thistle may interact with the under given drugs:

  • lorazepam (Ativan).
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal).
  • entacapone (Comtan).
  • amitriltyline (Elavil).
  • clopidogrel (Plavix).
  • clozapine (Clozaril).
  • diazepam (Valium).
  • estradiol (Estrace).
  • grepafloxacin (Raxar).
  • mirtazepine (Remeron).
  • ondansetron (Zofran).
  • Tacrine (Cognex).
  • verapamil (Calan).
  • warfarin (Coumadin).
  • zileuton (Zyflo).
  • lovastatin (Mevacor).
  • ketoconazole (Nizoral).
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox).
  • fexofenadine (Allegra) .
  • triazolam (Halcion).
Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Looking for the highest quality bulk herbs, teas and capsules?
Check out our top pick for the best prices and selection!




Irish Moss





Milk Thistle





Oregon Grape




Pleurisy Root

Poke Root


Red- Clover


Shepherd's Purse

Skunk Cabbage

Slippery Elm

St John's Wort



White Oak

Wild Yam

Witch Hazel


Ellow Dock


Copyright © 2006-2014 All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The services and information provided here are for information purposes. These information are not intended to act as a substitute for a professional healthcare practitioner advise. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, please consult your doctor.

Only personal contact with the qualified healthcare practitioner of your choice - who knows your health history, who can examine you, and who can bring expertise and experience to bear on your situation -- can yield advice about how you ought to handle any of the information you obtain from sources accessed through this service.