Milk thistle - Silybum Marianum

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This Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) monograph is an excerpt from the 1999, first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA. The expanded 3rd edition materia medica, and additional herbal tidbits are also available as a kindle ebook at Amazon and details on this e-book are here.

Milk thistle - Silybum marianum in the Asteraceae or Aster family

Part used: Seed.

Taste/smell: Bitter.


Decoction: 1-2 teaspoons of crushed seed per cup of water; or 1:2.5 dry strength

liquid extract: 20-60 drops 1-4 times per day.

Mental picture and specific indications: It is specific for congestion and inflammation of the liver, spleen and kidneys accompanied by hemorrhagic tendencies. There is a dull aching pain over the spleen, passing up to the left scapula and pain in the right side. It is indicated for weak and congested veins, pelvic congestion, prolapse of organs and blood stasis leading to hemorrhage. The individual displays pronounced debility.

Use: (a) Antioxidant, (b)Hepatoprotective, (c) Hepatotrophorestorative, (d) Gastroprotectant.

Milk thistle is used for most liver diseases, including hepatitis (inflamed liver) from both infectious and non-infectious causes. In human studies, silymarin has been shown to have positive effects in the treatment of liver diseases such as cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, fatty infiltration of the liver, and inflammation of the bile duct. The research supporting it’s use for hepatitis and cirrhosis includes liver disease induced by alcohol, drugs, and various toxins.

Milk thistle is one of the first herbs I think of for liver protection and/or regeneration immediately after exposure to liver toxins. (Although, it is best taken before exposure to liver toxins.)

In patients with diabetes and alcohol-induced cirrhosis, silymarin has been shown to lower lipoperoxidative damage, blood glucose levels, glycosylated hemoglobin values and exogenous insulin requirements.

Contraindications: Information unavailable at this time.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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