Milk Thistle Benefits

Milk thistle benefits the body in more ways than you could probably imagine, but is most famous for its unique ability of helping to detoxify the liver. Is often the herb we run to when we feel we need a cleanse after maybe too much partying, or it is sometimes used as a supplement to a detox program.

Milk Thistle, or Silymarin (silymarin is its active compound and the other name it is commonly known as) is a herb related to the ragweed and daisy family, and is mostly grown in different countries around the mediterranean. It is known as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.


Why do we need antioxidants?

woman sunbathing on a yacht

Antioxidants are CRUCIAL to health, and help to repair the cell damage inflicted by the toxins in our bodies. These toxins, or ‘free radicals‘ as they are also called, may come in many forms i.e. tobacco, alcohol, pollution, household cleaning products, trans fats, sugar, sun exposure and chemicals in food.

These free radicals are ‘unpaired electrons’ that scavenge for healthy cells in the body to make themselves ‘complete’ again. This process damages those healthy cells (and also other proteins and DNA), and this damage, in turn, accelerates the aging process. 

It is VITAL that we slow down the aging process as much as possible to help negate the onset of many age related diseases, such as degenerative illness, heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers. A way to do this is to drastically cut down exposure to the environmental toxins that are within our control.

Please read ‘Reducing Environmental Toxins’ for advice on how to do this, and the highest antioxidant foods that will help boost this process.



The fact that milk thistle is an anti inflammatory is another of its great benefits. Chronic inflammation may be at the root of many modern day illnesses, and can be caused by food sensitivities (often from junk foods such as trans fats, chemical additives, and sugar) OR anything that makes the immune system jump into action.


Food and inflammation:

Most of us are eating foods that are causing us the chronic low grade inflammation that may be helped by an alkaline plant based diet, and the inclusion of other anti inflammatory supplements such as milk thistle.

red and yellow pepper

Detoxification foods are highly alkaline and help to neutraise environmental toxins and heavy metals in the body and so it’s important to add them to your diet every day. Here is a list of foods that will help with detoxification of the body

It is important to see the correlation between detoxifying the body and the reduction of inflammation. I don’t believe you can take any one supplement to do this as other variables are involved, therefore other lifestyle changes will need to come into play if you want long term health and protection. 



Many people will use this herb during a ‘detox‘ specifically, as it may help boost the liver with its detoxification process. When the liver is firing in all cylinders and doing its job well it will effect every system in the body – making our immune system stronger, mind sharper and skin clearer.

The milk thistle helps ‘draw’ toxins out of the body, which could help prevent a range of diseases that could be caused by toxic build up, including diabetes, high cholesterol, chemotherapy side effects, alcohol over-use, skin damage and many more.



The way in which milk thistle slows down the aging process is through its powerful antioxidant effect, both inside and out. It works as well as other antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, both of which slow down the aging process by fighting the free radical damage that can lead to diseases.




Milk thistle supports the liver by helping to rebuild cells, and remove harmful toxins. It can naturally reverse the effects of alcohol, pesticides, pollution and heavy metals.

The liver is our largest organ, and it works hard purifying and filtering the blood continuously; breaking down old and damaged blood cells; producing bile to break down fat and cholesterol, and assisting in blood clotting.

It never stops and is one of our most important organs for health and immunity, which is why we must give it a helping hand at times.



There is some compelling evidence, according to the National Institute of Health, showing that silymarin may help control diabetes symptoms when used along with conventional treatments. This is more than likely due to the effects of its powerful antioxidants that help to reduce blood sugar levels in insulin resistant patents.



According to the US Natural Library of Medicine, milk thistle is considered a powerful anti inflammatory that can help lower the risk of heart disease. Heart disease is mainly caused by inflammation and is one of the top causes of death in the western world.

It may also help prevent artery damaging oxidative stress by ‘cleaning the blood’.



There is some compelling evidence, according to the National Institute of Health, showing that silymarin may help control diabetes symptoms when used along with conventional treatments. This may be due to the effects of its powerful antioxidants that help to reduce blood sugar levels in insulin resistant patents.



The liver works closely with the gallbladder, intestines, kidneys and pancreas, and as the liver is a blood cleanser milk thistle can help clear the body of metabolic waste, thus boosting the function of the gallbladder and helping in the prevention of gallstones forming.



As with any form of supplementation you should always buy from a trusted and preferably organic brand. Do your homework and find something reliable and affordable and look into their ratings.

I have sourced out here some of the best milk thistle (Silymarin) supplements I could find from trusted brands.

AMAZONBuy organically sourced Milk Thistle (Silymarin) here.




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Stefanie Taylor

I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.


Steve & Kris · 19/09/2017 at 10:16 pm

Milk thistle sounds like a wonderful herb to add to a diet even if you aren’t trying to detox. I am wondering if rehab centers encourage this? I would think it would be very beneficial in those facilities. Are there any side effects, like flu symptoms? Sometimes when the body is ridding itself of toxins, people get flu-like symptoms that do go away. Would you need to increase your water intake for the day? Thank you for the interesting information on milk thistle, it seems to have so many benefits!

    stefanie taylor · 19/09/2017 at 10:16 pm

    Hi there and thanks for reading,

    I would like to think that rehab centers do encourage these supplements as it has been well documented for a long time how effective they are to cleanse the liver. And yes, like with any detox supplements there is a chance you will feel worse before better i.e. fatigue and headaches, but I’m pretty sure these symptoms are mostly due to other things that many people do during a detox such as cutting out sugar, caffeine, alcohol and junk foods. All of which will have withdrawal effects.

    And yes always drink lots of water while detoxing to flush everything out.

    Let me know if you have any more questions and I will be more than happy to help

Edgar · 10/11/2017 at 4:35 pm

It seems that new products are developed to help prevent disease or make out organ healthier all the time. Until reading your post I never heard of Milk Thistle. Should my primary physician be familiar with Milk Thistle? Should healthy people use this product or people at high risk of heart disease?

    Stefanie Taylor · 10/11/2017 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Edgar, thanks for reading my article. Yes, I am pretty sure your physician will definitely of heard of Milk Thistle (although some mainstream doctors don’t always know much about herbs as I guess it’s just not part of their training). Anyway, it would hurt to ask their opinion. I personally take milk thistle sporadically for the simple fact I don’t like to take anything long term without breaks. If you do this then you should have no problems. I am already very healthy but I take supplements to stay that way. No point in closing the stable door after the horse has bolted as they say, so I would say just take low doses of herbs such as these and have breaks. Milk thistle is primarily used as a liver detoxifier, and it stands to reason that when the body is in a good state of detoxification then your whole body will be healthy and your immune system strong.

sarah · 10/05/2018 at 6:34 pm

Wow, wow, wow, I haven’t heard about this plant before but it really has some amazing health benefits. I am going to try it for myself, thank you Stefanie for sharing these amazing articles with us. Your articles are always very helpful for our health with your chemical free herbal tips and best thing is, your ideas are so so simple, great especially for people with busy schedules.

    Stefanie Taylor · 10/05/2018 at 8:40 pm

    Yes, it’s all about chemical free for healing as it is the only way that truly works long term. I love herbs and also work in a herbal apothecary with a well known herbalist and so I see first hand the effects that they have on people every day. It truly is just amazing to see and I have a new found respect for plants. Thank you for your comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article and have been inspired to try something new.

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