Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle is a herbaceous annual or biennial plant with a dense-prickly flower head and reddish-purple tubular flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has been naturalized in Central Europe, North and South America, and Southern Australia. Milk Thistle has an extensive history of use as an edible plant. In the 1st century AD, Pliny the Elder reported its use for supporting liver health. The English herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper (1650) claimed it was effective for supporting the normal functioning of the liver. At the turn of the 20th century, eclectic physicians also used Milk Thistle to support healthy liver function. Much of the modern day research has been conducted in Germany where it is an approved herb in The German Commission E Monographs.*

What is Milk Thistle Used For?

Numerous scientific studies have explored Milk Thistle and a group of its constituents called silymarins. Many of these clinical studies have demonstrated that this herb supports healthy liver function and provides powerful antioxidant protection. A primary constituent of silymarin called silibinin also helps to support healthy liver function, encouraging healthy cholesterol synthesis by the liver.* In addition to its well-recognized role in promoting liver health, key constituents in Milk Thistle also help to maintain normal kidney function and promote optimal immune function. Limited research suggests that this herb may also support healthy prostate function, and encourage a vital gastrointestinal tract by protecting it from free radical damage. More research is warranted to support the use of this herb for supporting its role beyond enhancing healthy liver function.*