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Milk Thistle

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Brand and Other Names: Carduus Marianum, Holy Thistle, Lady's Thistle, Legalon, Marian Thistle, Mary Thistle, Silibinin, Silybin, Silybum Marianum, Silymarin, St. Mary Thistle

Generic Name: milk thistel

Drug Class: Gastrointestinal, Herbals

What Is Milk Thistle and How Does It Work?

Milk Thistle is used to treat alcoholic liver disease, gallbladder problems, hepatic cirrhosis, hepatitis (chronic), hepatotoxicity (chemical/drug-induced), jaundice, pleurisy, prostate cancer, and spleen diseases, and used as an appetite stimulant.

It is possibly effective in diabetes and indigestion (dyspepsia).

Extensively studied; effective in treatment of cirrhosis, hepatitis, chemical- or alcohol-induced fatty liver.

Effective in mushroom (Amanita phalloides) poisoning, if treatment begins early.

Intravenous (IV) form of silibinin approved in Europe for Amatoxin poisoning.

Milk Thistle is available under the following different brand and other names: carduus marianum, holy thistle, lady's thistle, legalon, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, silibinin, silybin, silybum marianum, silymarin, and St Mary thistle.

Suggested Dosing

Dosages of Milk Thistle:

140 mg silymarin taken orally three times per day

Hepatitis, Chronic Active

Silibinin constituent: 240 mg taken orally two times/day

Hepatic Cirrhosis

Silymarin 70-80% extract: 420 mg/d taken orally


1 mL taken orally three times/day (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc)


Silymarin 200 mg taken orally three times/day in combination with conventional treatment

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

There are no dosage considerations for use of milk thistle.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/14/2017

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