Milk Thistle

Herbal Supplements

Peer Reviewed

Milk thistle is also known as Mary Thistle and Wild Artichoke. Herbal preparations are made from the seeds inside the fruit of this plant. The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, a unique flavonoid with antioxidant properties.
 A cup of milk thistle tea on a table cloth. Milk thistle blossoms are in the backgroundMilk thistle may be beneficial in treating liver disorders (eg, hepatitis, cirrhosis). This herb may stimulate production of new liver cells, and benefit adrenal disorders and inflammatory bowel syndrome. It is used to treat psoriasis. This herb may also protect the liver from acetaminophen, a non-aspirin pain reliever.

Sources of Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is available in the following forms: liquid extracts, tinctures, teas, and capsules. For maximum absorption, purchase products labeled as standardized silymarin-phosphatidycholine complex.

Guidelines and Cautions
Always follow package directions.

  • Excessive amounts of milk thistle may cause diarrhea.
  • Milk thistle has poor water solubility, so it is not effective as a tea.

Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of SpineUniverse.com, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.

Updated on: 02/14/17
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Richard G. Fessler, MD, PhD
Many patients report feeling improvement in their general well being taking dietary supplements. The Editorial Board of SpineUniverse.com, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.
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