How much Milk Thistle should I Take?

The most important question when thinking about using milk thistle is: how much should I take? The answer depends on the milk thistle’s intended use. Since most drugs are metabolized by the liver, ingesting them in large doses might be harmful. Milk thistle may be affected by antipsychotics, such as phenothiazines, butyrophenones, and several medications used during general anesthesia. Additionally, birth control medications like fexofenadine (Allegra) and statins may interact with milk thistle (lovastatin and atorvastatin). Please consult your doctor about the interactions of milk thistle before using it.

Milk Thistle

Over 2,000 years ago, milk thistle, a common herb, was first utilized as a herbal cure. The body’s ability to withstand oxidative stress related to aging, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, is increased by the substance’s active component, silymarin. It is also recognized as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. According to certain studies, silymarin also has neuroprotective properties. Milk thistle has been demonstrated to lessen the accumulation of amyloid plaques, sticky proteins between brain cells, in rats with Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Milk Thistle?

The milk thistle plant, also known as Silybum marianum, is the source of the herbal treatment of milk thistle. A drop of the Virgin Mary’s milk is said to have fallen into the leaves of this thorny plant, which is why it has characteristic purple blossoms and white veins, according to traditional tales. Silymarin is a plant chemical class that is the active ingredient in milk thistle.

Milk thistle extract is the name of the herbal cure for it. Between 65 and 80 percent of the silymarin in milk thistle extract comes from the milk thistle plant.

It is well known that milk thistle’s silymarin extract has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. It has long been used to cure liver and gallbladder diseases, encourages breast milk production, prevent and treat cancer, and even shield the liver from environmental toxins like alcohol and snake bites.

How much Milk Thistle should I Take?

There are no rules specifying how milk thistle should be used. Supplements containing milk thistle are typically sold in capsule form, but they can also be found as tablets, tea bags, and liquid extracts. Doses might be anything from 175 and 1,000 mg.

  • Milk thistle is safe to consume three times daily in 150–175 mg dosages. Generally speaking, the risk of side effects increases with dose.
  • With milk thistle doses of 10 milligrams and 210 milligrams, respectively, combination treatments such as Iberogast drops (used to treat dyspepsia) and Barberol pills (formulated for diabetics) are thought to be helpful. Higher doses don’t always translate into better outcomes.
  • Stores specializing in herbal, drugstores, and natural food retailers sell dietary supplements containing milk thistle. Online retailers also sell milk thistle-related goods.
  • In the U.S., dietary supplements are exempt from the same stringent testing, research, and testing requirements as prescription medications. The quality can differ from one supplement to the next as a result.
  • Choose items that have undergone testing and certification by an impartial certifying authority, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab, or NSF International, to ensure quality and safety. Choose companies that have received organic certification following U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements as an extra security measure (USDA).

What are the Health Benefits of Milk Thistle?

Here are the health benefits of milk thistle:

Milk Thistle Protects your Liver

The liver-protective properties of milk thistle are frequently marketed. People with liver damage brought on by illnesses including alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and even liver cancer frequently utilize it as a supplemental therapy. Studies on those with liver problems who took a milk thistle supplement showed improved liver function, indicating that it may help lessen liver inflammation and damage.

Additionally, it is employed to safeguard the liver against poisons like amatoxin, created by the deadly death cap mushroom, and is lethal if consumed. Milk thistle is supposed to lessen liver damage brought on by free radicals, which are created when your liver metabolizes hazardous chemicals; however, more research is required to understand how it works.

It Might Aid in Preventing Age-Related Declines in Mental Capacity

For over two thousand years, people have used milk thistle as a traditional treatment for neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics, it may be neuroprotective and help stop the loss in brain function that comes with aging.

Silymarin has been demonstrated in test-tube and animal experiments to reduce oxidative damage to brain cells, which may aid in preventing mental decline. As you age, amyloid plaques—sticky clumps of amyloid proteins—can accumulate between nerve cells. Milk thistle may reduce the number of amyloid plaques in the brains of animals with Alzheimer’s disease, according to these studies.

Milk Thistle could Protect your Bones

Progressive bone loss is an illness known as osteoporosis. It typically takes years to develop slowly, resulting in weak, brittle bones that snap readily, even after small falls.

Animal and experimental test-tube research have demonstrated that milk thistle stimulates bone mineralization and may offer protection against bone loss. As a result, experts contend that milk thistle may be an effective treatment for postmenopausal women to stop or delay bone loss. However, there aren’t any human trials available right now. Thus its efficacy is still unknown.

It May Improve Cancer Treatment

According to some theories, silymarin’s antioxidant properties may also have anticancer properties, which could benefit those undergoing cancer therapy. According to certain animal studies, milk thistle may help lessen the negative effects of cancer therapies.

Additionally, it might improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in treating specific malignancies and, in some cases, might even kill cancer cells. However, there haven’t been any conclusive clinical results from the small number of human trials. This could result from insufficient absorption to produce a therapeutic effect. Before it can be known how silymarin might benefit those receiving cancer therapy, more research must be done.

It could Help Treat Acne

A persistently inflamed skin condition, acne. Although it’s not harmful, it can leave scars. People could also experience pain from it and be concerned about how it will affect their appearance. According to some theories, acne formation has been linked to oxidative stress in the body. Milk thistle’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it a potential supplement for acne sufferers. Intriguingly, one study discovered that taking 210 milligrams of silymarin daily for eight weeks resulted in a 53% reduction in acne lesions among acne sufferers. But since this is the only study, a further thorough investigation is required.

Risks, Side Effects, and Interactions

With relatively few negative effects reported, milk thistle is generally considered safe and well-tolerated.

  • Constipation and moderate laxative effects are the less serious side effects most frequently experienced. However, it is believed to be efficient and generally free of allergic symptoms when taken within the advised dose range.
  • Some medications, such as blood thinners, anti-anxiety meds, allergy treatments, and milk thistle, may interact. Before beginning the milk thistle supplement, discuss any drugs you are currently taking with your doctor to rule out any potential interactions.
  • Additionally, it mimics the results of estrogen in the body, known as having estrogenic actions. You should speak with your doctor before beginning a supplement if you have a hormone-sensitive condition such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or ovarian cancer.
  • Also, remember that antioxidants, such as those in milk thistle, have been demonstrated to potentially interfere with the effectiveness of some cancer chemotherapeutic medicines by shielding cancer cells from apoptosis.
  • Last but not least, remember that even though many holistic practitioners advise milk thistle for dogs to support liver function, it is best to speak with your veterinarian before beginning supplementation to ensure the safety of your beloved pets.

Drug Interactions

Milk thistle may reduce your blood sugar, so it needs to be used with caution as it may trigger hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in people on diabetes medications.

Milk thistle can change the way that your body metabolizes certain drugs in the liver, triggering interactions with:

  • Antibiotics like Biaxin (clarithromycin)
  • Anticoagulants like Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil (ibuprofen), Celebrex (celecoxib), and Voltaren (diclofenac)
  • Statin drugs like Mevacor (lovastatin) and Lescol (fluvastatin)

Other interactions are possible. To avoid complex ions, always advise your healthcare provider about any supplements or herbal remedies you are taking.

Who should Avoid Milk Thistle?

Milk Thistle

When used orally, milk thistle is generally regarded as safe. In reality, just  % of subjects in studies using large doses over extended periods reported negative effects.

Milk thistle side effects are typically digestive disorders, including diarrhea, nausea, or bloating when they are recorded.

When consuming milk thistle, some individuals are advised to exercise caution. These consist of:

  • Pregnant women: There is no data on its safety in pregnant women, so they are usually advised to avoid this supplement.
  • Those allergic to the plant: Milk thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae family of plants.
  • People with diabetes: The blood sugar-lowering effects of milk thistle may put people with diabetes at risk of low blood sugar.
  • Those with certain conditions: Milk thistle can have estrogenic effects, which may worsen hormone-sensitive conditions, including some types of breast cancer.

Milk Thistle Tea

To maximize the milk thistle’s potential health benefits, consider drinking it as tea rather than as a supplement.

Milk thistle tea is often made by steeping the plant’s leaves and seeds. A total of 190 se ds, which can be used in various ways, are present in each little plantYouts; you can also grow your milk thistle and cre to collect the plant’s tea.

If you buy or grow milk thistle, cut off the entire head and hang it upside-down for about a week to draw out the seeds. The seeds can then be eaten raw, dried into a powder, or steeped in tea with the leaves and crushed. Store the seeds a d leaves in the freezer to extend their shelf life and preserve their potent nutrients.


A safe dietary supplement, milk thistle, has the potential as an adjunctive treatment for several illnesses, including diabetes, cancer, and liver disease. However, many studies have tiny methodological faults, making it challenging to make certain recommendations about this supplement or validate its effects.

A more high-quality study is required to define this intriguing herb’s dosages and clinical effects.
Most people tolerate milk thistle rather well. To ensure you receive the right dosage for your body, however, if you are pregnant or nursing, consult your doctor or pharmacist. It may be recommended to avoid milk thistle if you have a history of allergies or rashes. Daisies and kiwi, frequently found in milk thistle, also cause allergies.