..The Intuitive Times
Feature Herb


Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum)

by Kali Simmonds

Back | Next | Contents | Home

The medical use of milk thistle seeds can be traced back as far as 2000 years. The main conditions it is used to treat include alcohol related liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, liver support for the drug therapies, gallstones, psoriasis, and detoxification.

The active ingredient is silymarin, a bioflavenoid complex made up of 3 parts: silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin. Silibinin is the most active part of silymarin. You should look for a herbal extract standardized to 80% silymarin. A therapeutic dosage ranges from 210 mg - 420 mg of silymarin. This would translate into approximately 250 - 500 mg of milk thistle seed, (80% extract) in divided does on an empty stomach. Milk thistle is often seen in combination with dandelion, curcumin, artichoke ,etc. which are also helpful for the liver and gallbladder.

Keep in mind that often when you support the liver, you can improve other conditions controlled by liver function such as high cholesterol, gallstones, hormonal irregularities, and so on. You can use milk thistle to do a "spring cleanse" using 250 mg, 3 times a day, half-hour before meals. However, it is essential that the bowel is moving daily before you start this if you don't want to create further "backlog".

Milk thistle is very safe and is virtually devoid of any known side-effects. It is safe in pregnant, and lactating women. There are no known drug interactions. In rare cases, it may have a mild laxative effect which should pass in 2 - 3 days.

Kali Simmonds (902-894-3868) is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, who practices in Charlottetown, PEI.


Back | Next | Contents | Home