Milk Thistle

Last Updated: August 21, 2023

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) contains silymarin, a mixture of plant compounds known to benefit injured livers.

Milk Thistle is most often used for


Milk thistle has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for liver disorders. Silymarin, which is a mixture of several different plant compounds known as flavonolignans, is the bioactive component of milk thistle and sold as “milk thistle extract” (the most common supplemental form of milk thistle).

Evidence suggests that silymarin protects liver cells, reduces liver-related deaths, and improves markers of liver function in people with chronic liver disease.[1] These effects are primarily attributed to silymarin’s role as a free radical scavenger, thus reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. Silymarin also seems to have antifibrotic properties.[1]

What else is Milk Thistle known as?
Note that Milk Thistle is also known as:
  • Marian thistle
  • Mary thistle
  • St Mary’s thistle
  • Our Lady’s thistle
  • Holy thistle
  • Sow thistle
  • Blessed Virgin thistle
  • Christ’s crown
  • Venue thistle
  • Heal thistle
  • Variegated Thistle
  • Wild Artichoke
  • Carduus Marianus
  • Silybum marianum
Milk Thistle should not be confused with:
Examine Database: Milk Thistle
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Update History
2023-08-21 00:30:03

New studies added to the database


We added some extra studies related to liver enzymes to this database

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The information in this section is slated for renovation — it will soon be transformed into a more usable (and readable!) form in the coming months. As such, the text in this section may be out of date and not up to Examine’s current standards for writing style.

  1. ^Anton Gillessen, Hartmut H-J SchmidtSilymarin as Supportive Treatment in Liver Diseases: A Narrative ReviewAdv Ther.(2020 Apr)
Examine Database References
  1. Milk Production - Peila C, Coscia A, Tonetto P, Spada E, Milani S, Moro G, Fontana C, Vagliano L, Tortone C, Di Bella E, Bertino EEvaluation of the galactogogue effect of silymarin on mothers of preterm newborns (<32 weeks).Pediatr Med Chir.(2015-Dec-29)
  2. Milk Production - Francesco Di Pierro, Alberto Callegari, Domenico Carotenuto, Marco Mollo TapiaClinical efficacy, safety and tolerability of BIO-C (micronized Silymarin) as a galactagogueActa Biomed.(2008 Dec)
  3. Acne Symptoms - Ahmed Salih Sahib, Haidar Hamid Al-Anbari, Mohammed Salih, and Fatima AbdullahEffects of Oral Antioxidants on Lesion Counts Associated with Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Patients with Papulopustular AcneJournal of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology Research .()