Health Benefits Of Milk Thistle

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Health Benefits of Milk Thistle

Milk thistle or Silybum marianum is a perennial herb with remarkable medicinal properties. Its seeds comprise of silymarin. It is a group of compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory impacts. Milk thistle is typically utilized as a home remedy for the treatment of liver problems, and it will also "detoxify" the liver.

At present, there is adequate scientific information to say milk thistle may aid the liver (liver tissues or liver function). It is also beneficial for different health conditions like hepatitis or cirrhosis; the herb may help stop or treat high cholesterol, heartburn, stomach distress (dyspepsia), gallbladder issues, menstrual pain, anxiety, and also specific kinds of cancer. But the point is its benefits are unlimited, but scientific shreds of evidence back few. You should avoid taking it without scientific proves.

In this article, we will discuss milk thistle, its prominent benefits, its adverse effects, and many more.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle has been utilized for multiple years as a health agent; it was not until the 1950s that European scientific research started examining it for excellent health and good objectives. Silymarin is the most potent antioxidant in milk thistle.

As a famous hepatoprotective, it protects from liver disorders. It is also well-known Flavonoids that are chemicals beneficial for plant growth. Flavonoids are also the main ingredient in fruits and vegetables that are suitable for you and fill your body with antioxidants.

Experts also study milk thistle for its efficiency in relieving signs of metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disorder. Fatty liver happens when too much fat gathers in your liver. Weight gain or insulin resistance all add to the fatty liver issue.

Historical Background of Milk Thistle

For more than 1,000 years, this herb has been utilized as a medicinal herb in typical wellness practices. Milk thistle is a yearly plant native to southern Europe and Asia, but nowadays, it is present all over the world. Some think that milk thistle is originated from the Greek island of Crete.

It is also called Saint Mary's thistle and blessed thistle. It is well-known for its bright purple flowers and pale green leaves, but it is especially famous for its milky white leaves.

These leaves have veins that show a white, milky sap when they open. The thing behind its white sap originates from the story of the Virgin Mary, who breastfed baby Jesus under milk thistle leaves. A drop of Mary'sMary's milk fell and led to the white veins on the milk thistle leaves that are also how milk thistle obtained its nickname.

Milk thistle flourishes in dry or rocky soils but has a likeness for sunny or lightly shaded places. The flowers are prickly for your touch, and every flower may form almost 190 seeds. As an edible plant, its stalks, roots, and flowers can be consumed.

You can eat its roots raw or cooked, and the same goes for the leaves. The reason is the leaves are sharp, and it is suggested that the leaf-spines are initially eliminated. Specific individuals even call it a good alternative for spinach because of its taste and texture.

What Milk Is Thistle Used For?

Much scientific research has taken an interest in Milk thistle and a group of its constituents known as silymarins. Many of these clinical trials have explained that this herb promotes healthy liver action and offers potent antioxidant protection. The main constituent of silymarin known as silibinin also presents to promote healthy liver function

Motivate healthy cholesterol formation by your liver. Additionally, its famous role in improving liver health, the main component in Milk Thistle, also aids in regulating healthy kidney function and improve regular immune activity.

A recent study recommends that this plant may also improve healthy prostate action, and improve a vital gastrointestinal tract by saving it from free radical stress. Enough study is guaranteed to help the use of milk thistle for helping its role beyond improving healthy liver action.

Health Benefits of Milk Thistle

  1. Maintain Liver Health

People face several liver-related issues. These issues disturb the growth of your health. Milk thistle has the potential to tackle these pressing issues. It can save you from dangerous liver-related diseases such as liver cancer, alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatitis. Some studies show that it saves your liver cells because of stopping the invasion of several damaging toxins. It also terminates these harmful toxins from your liver cells.

It has a specific amount of glutathione. It plays a defensive role against the toxins. It also boosts the function of your liver.

It has antioxidant properties that help in the process of liver maintenance. It has the ability to protect you from liver fibrosis. The high quantity of alcohol consumption is hazardous for your liver. It may nullify the adverse effects of alcohol on your liver.

Hepatitis becomes one of the harmful diseases of the liver. Many people suffer from this disease. It has the ability to turn down the chance of hepatitis.

The other problem of the liver is non-alcoholic liver disease. It can lessen several effects of this disease, such as liver scarring, enzymes, and insulin resistance.

  1. May Help Treat Acne

Acne is a chronic inflammatory issue of skin. It is not a deadly condition, but it can lead to scars. Individuals may also find it stressful and concern about its impacts on their appearance. It is recommended that oxidative damage in your body may play a vital role in acne development. Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature, milk thistle may be a beneficial supplement for individuals suffering from acne.

Additionally, one recent research discovered that individuals with acne who consumed 200 mg of silymarin on a daily basis for seven weeks experienced a 52 % reduction in acne lesions. Aside from this research, more scientific pieces of evidence are required.

May Maximize Breast Milk Formation

One of the most important benefits of milk thistle is that it may maximize breast milk formation in lactating mothers. It is believed to work by producing more of the milk-producing hormone prolactin. The data is very less, but one randomized controlled research explained that mothers consuming 410 mg of silymarin for 60 days formed 62 % more milk than those using a placebo.

However, it is the only clinical research present. Enough research is required to confirm these results and the safety of milk thistle for breastfeeding females. But you should consult your doctor for more information.

  1. Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a very crucial issue of health. It is a combination of severe problems with your health, such as blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease. It occurs because of the high level of blood pressure and blood sugar. Some people face this problem. It becomes a barrier to the development of your health.

Milk thistle has the power to turn down the chance of metabolic syndrome. 

It can terminate this issue by lessening blood sugar and liver enzymes. Type 2 diabetes is also the main reason for this severe condition. It may boost up beneficial HDL cholesterol and enhance blood triglycerides and insulin resistance.

It can prevent pancreatic lipase. It is a type of enzyme that supports the fats to enter the gut. Milk thistle minimizes the number of fats because of ceasing this enzyme.

  1. Kidney and Prostate Health

There are several kidney-related problems. These issues have an adverse impact on your health. Milk thistle has the ability to improve these kidney related issues. Some people suffer from dialysis treatment of the kidney. It plays a supportive role in the treatment of dialysis of your kidney. It has the potential to turn down inflammatory cytokines in your kidney.

It also lowers kidney damage in animals, especially dogs; because of interaction with vitamin E. it is very useful for maintaining your kidney health.

The prostate is a gland whose main function is to create a specific amount of fluid. The main purpose of this fluid is to move sperm during the process of ejaculation. It is very necessary to balance the prostate health. It plays a vital role in the reproduction process. Milk thistle has the capability to manage the development of prostate health.

It can lessen the fullness of your bladder and enhance urine flow. Blood fats in your body lead to prostate cancer. It may minimize these harmful blood fats.

  1. Diabetes

Diabetes becomes a very common disease in the world. The main reason for this serious disease is the high level of blood sugar in your body. Many people suffer from this harmful is very necessary to control your blood sugar level. Milk thistle has the potential to tackle with this problem. It can support you to manage your blood sugar level.

Type 2 diabetes is another form of diabetes. Some studies show that it may be useful for the treatment of this disease. It has antioxidant qualities that can lower the inflammation in this serious disease. It also turns down the oxidative stress in your body.

  1. Improve Bone Health

It is very important to maintain your bone health. The loss of bone health causes several health-related issues. This effect becomes a barrier against your health. According to some studies, calcium and vitamin D are essential for the growth of bone health. Milk thistle plays a vital role in the development of bone health.

Osteoporosis is a bone-related disease. It is a dangerous condition in which your bones become weak. It has the power to turn down the chance of this issue. The shortage of estrogen leads to bone loss. It has the capability to enhance bone health.

It is also essential for lowering bone loss in postmenopausal women. It may boost up the process of bone mineralization in animals.

  1. Chronic Hepatitis C

Milk thistle is extensively utilized by individuals suffering from chronic hepatitis C. It is a viral infection featured by the progressive damaging of your liver. 

According to a survey funded by the National Institutes of Health highlighted that 20 % of 1,144 individuals with hepatitis C utilized herbal dietary supplements, with milk thistle.

From the survey, people suffering from hepatitis C reported minimum symptoms and a better quality of life" when consuming milk thistle despite having no change in viral activity and liver swelling or inflammation.

A 2012 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that milk thistle is truly beneficial for chronic hepatitis C.

Being well-tolerated in the study, people, silymarin (prescribed twice-daily in 450 or 700 mg doses), had a tangible impact on liver enzymes. Many researchers believe that it offers something of a placebo effect in which a person feels an improvement in symptoms despite having no alteration in their clinical situation.

  1. For Weight loss

Our advanced lifestyle is tempting to your liver. Moreover, your body is hit with toxic materials from food, contaminated air, and water quality, other pollution, and even water. Plenty of individuals are also depressed, stressed, and exhausted. With that point, the liver is functioning harder than the previous time. This stress also makes it tough to lose or regulate weight.

Milk thistle is to make your body burn fat or suppress your appetite to ignite weight loss. Instead, it aids digestion, which in turn may cause supporting body composition objectives. It occurs by regulating the liver's sliver's process. When the liver is depressed with stress, it may adversely affect your digestion. Particularly, patients suffering from cirrhosis of your liver often show digestive issues. Milk thistle has been suppressed by fat cells in lab cultures.

  1. Cancer

Cancer is one of the dangerous diseases in the world. Several people suffer from this harmful disease. Some people lost their lives because of cancer. It is very important to tackle such type of disease. Milk thistle has the potential to turn down the chance of this disease. It plays a supportive role in the treatment of some types of cancer, such as colon and prostate cancer.

It has the ability to minimize the markers of prostate cancer. Some studies show that the combination of flaxseed and milk thistle may help in the treatment of colon cancer.

Some women face breast cancer, which is an adverse type of cancer. It may inhibit the risk of breast cancer and maintain the health of women.

Colorectal cancer is another serious kind of cancer. It can prevent the development of cancerous cells in colorectal cancer. Cancer treatment brings some negative impacts. It is very helpful in the reduction of these side effects. 

It also boosts up the efficiency of chemotherapy as well as eliminates the cancer cells from your body.

  1. Brain Health

Some studies show that milk thistle has the potential to maintain brain health. It has the ability to tackle brain-related issues. It is useful for the treatment of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

Milk thistle is incredibly beneficial in treating mental conditions. 

The current research showed that silymarin contains neuroprotective impacts on your body. One study done on mice explained that it suppresses beta-induced memory loss due to oxidative damage and inflammation in mice brains.

Silymarin also has revealed benefits in people with Alzheimer's condition, Parkinson's issue, and cerebral ischemia. It is thought that it offers neuroprotective influences mainly because of its capacity to stop oxidative stress in your brain. Silymarin also influences β-amyloid aggregation, cellular apoptotic machinery, and estrogenic receptor mediation.

  1. Improves the Immune System

Milk thistle may aid in improving the natural defense system of your body. For strengthening your immune system, it is important to use it. Milk thistle works best for your immune response and aids them in combat infection-causing agents.

A 2016 study on an animal model revealed that its extract promoted the immunity when used. An older study expressed that it had a positive influence on immune response in our bodies.

More research with humans is required before researchers can say with accuracy that it promotes your immune system.

  1. Treating Changes in Blood Glucose Levels

A double-blind clinical trial explained that patients who took 100 mg of silymarin twice per day for approximately three months had maintained their blood sugar levels when compared with patients who used only a prescribed anti-diabetic medicine.

Another study revealed that daily usage of silymarin might reduce HbA1c levels (a laboratory value referring to two-month average blood sugar levels). Also, these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features shown by silymarin also minimizes the risk of diabetic complications such as neuropathy.

  1. Hepatic Conditions

Studies indicate that extracts of milk thistle may save liver cells by preventing the influx of a variety of damaging toxins and removing the entrapped toxins from your liver cells. Silymarin is a powerful antioxidant that may promote liver repair.

The recent research shows that silymarin may inhibit liver fibrosis. It is recommended to use this plant to neutralize the detrimental impacts of drinking alcohol on the liver. This usage has been supported by a double-blind clinical test revealing that, once alcohol usage is prevented, milk thistle may alter certain alcohol-induced liver disorders.

Some other research has highlighted that promotion in the overall life quality and life expectancy was motivated in people with liver cirrhosis.

Can You Grow Your Own Milk Thistle?

It is a hardy plant that develops well in all various environments, though it likes high temperatures and dry environment. The soil also requires being well-drained. For the growing purpose, spread its seeds over the loose soil in the spring or fall. Milk thistle seeds only use a minimum of two to three weeks for germinating.

This plant grows in clumps, space each cluster of seeds about 10 inches apart. Milk thistle is drought resistant and requires limited watering.

After these flowers have completed blooming, they leave seed clusters behind. You may harvest them and extract these seeds by eliminating the fluffy fibers surrounding them.

You may then either dry the seeds using air or utilize a home dehydrator (that minimizes the risk of fungal contamination). Once dried, you may grind these seeds into a powder with a mortar and pestle. Its tonic is usually prepared by steeping a tablespoon of crushed seed in 3 cups of hot water for 15-20 minutes.

You should avoid harvesting milk thistle plants that have been exposed to pesticides or available along roadways or industrial sites.

Which Milk Thistle Should You Use?

Searching the most powerful and genuine milk thistle on your market nowadays is tough work. About the knowledge about where the herbs are developed, you can trust Milk Thistle for the greatest efficiency and powerful results.

The milk thistle is mainly harvested in the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany, where you planted since the Middle Ages. We farm it for its seeds that comprise of silymarin, a potent flavonoid. Silymarin is also famous for its antioxidant help.

The milk thistle is prepared to utilize a slight extraction technique that does not normally utilize harsh solvents – removing the usage of chemicals that are dangerous for the environment and individuals. Upon ending the extraction process, it is dried and analyzed before being sent to the U.S. for testing and encapsulation.

Milk Thistle offers 200 mg of genuine milk thistle herb to the body and is best for a vegetarian diet. Most of the supplements are gluten-free and beneficial. But still, you need to consult your staff first.

Safety and side effects

Milk thistle is safe when consumed in adequate doses and may play a key role in treating different liver conditions. If you consumed it through your mouth, then it is safe. Milk thistle can lead you to;

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Irritation
  • Restlessness
  • Headache

If you are suffering from diabetes, carefully use it as a supplement that may reduce your blood sugar. There is also a problem that may have estrogenic impacts. If you are suffering from breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, and then you should not use it.

Milk thistle may lead to an allergic reaction like a deadly allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). An allergic reaction is famous in individuals who are allergic to other plants in the Asteraceae family, like daisies, marigolds, or chrysanthemums.

Interactions with Other Medications

Most famous interactions are;

  • Cytochrome P450 2C9 Substrates

Using milk thistle may influence this enzyme and drugs it processes, like diazepam (Valium), and others.

  • Diabetes Medications

Milk thistle may reduce blood sugar in individuals who have type-2 diabetes. 

Consuming it with diabetes medicines may lead to adverse effects. You should check your blood sugar levels.

  • Metronidazole (Flagyl)

Milk thistle doesn't go best with these medicines, and you should avoid it or don't combine together.

  • Simeprevir (Olysio)

Consuming it with this hepatitis C medication may lower the concentrations of the medicines in the blood plasma. Don uses it and simeprevir in a mix.

  • Sirolimus (Rapamune)

Using it with this immunosuppressant may alter the way your body processes the drugs.


Milk thistle has a wide variety of potential health benefits because of its active components, silymarin that is a potent antioxidant. A plethora of studies requires to be done to back its multiple benefits and make you relax to use its supplements without any worry. However, it is a healthful formula that may be worth utilizing with typical treatments.

It is necessary to consult a doctor or healthcare professional before initiating to utilize milk thistle or any other dietary supplement, as it may interact with other medicines or medical issues. Its supplements are available in health stores, or you can also buy it from online markets.

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