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Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle, also known as St Mary’s Thistle, is the ultimate liver herb. The seeds of the milk thistle have been used for 2,000 years to treat chronic liver disease and protect the liver against toxins and to treat gallbladder disorders.

Research suggests that milk thistle extracts both prevent and repair damage to the liver from toxic chemicals and medications. Workers who had been exposed to vapors from toxic chemicals (toluene and/or xylene) for 5–20 years were given either a standardized milk thistle extract (80% silymarin) or placebo for 30 days. The workers taking the milk thistle extract showed significant improvement in liver function tests (ALT and AST) and platelet counts that the placebo group did not.


Milk Thistle is an excellent remedy for the treatment of cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, poisoning, drug and alcohol abuse, and poor digestion due to poor liver function. It also protects the liver from further damage, for example from chemotherapy and assists the regeneration of damaged liver cells.

Milk Thistle also increases bile secretion which reduces gallstone formation and helps reduce existing stones.

Silymarin and silybin, the main active constituents of St Mary’s Thistle, have both been found to be cancer preventative and to have anti cancer activity.

One of its best documented uses is as a successful treatment for Death Cap mushroom poisoning.

Milk Thistle combats toxins by blocking them, acting like an antioxidant and by binding with excessive iron. Iron overload or hemochromatosis is a situation where St Mary’s Thistle can be useful.

Milk Thistle helps cycle excess oestrogens out of the body. It is great for cases of irritability, fat intolerance, fatty liver and general liver sluggishness.

From data formerly available at

Milk thistle also boosts glutathione levels. Glutathione is the master antioxidant. It helps restore other antioxidants to active duty once they have surrendered an oxygen electron to handle a free radical.


Milk Thistle is normally used as an ingredient in the following Healthelicious products:

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