Milk Thistle Benefits - A Powerful Antioxidant!

Milk thistle benefits the body in more ways than you probably know about as is mostly renowned for its unique ability of helping detoxify the liver. Is often the herb we run to when we feel we need a cleanse after maybe too much partying, and due to its powerful antioxidant action is often used as a supplement on a detox program.

Milk Thistle, or Silymarin (which is its active compound, and the other name it is commonly known) is a herb related to the ragweed and daisy family. It is mostly grown in different countries around the mediterranean where it is known as an antioxidant and 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 toxins that enter our bodies through vaious sources. 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 our food.


What are Free Radicals?

antioxidants and free radical diagram

Free radicals are unpaired electrons that scavenge the healthy cells in your body to make themselves complete again. This process not only damages those healthy cells, but also other proteins and our DNA, and in turn, this damage actually accelerates the aging process, which is of course, not ideal.

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


Fighting Chronic Inflammation:-

ring donut

The fact that milk thistle is an anti inflammatory is another of its great benefits. Chronic inflammation is now believed to 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 causes the immune system jump into action.


Food and inflammation:-

Most of us are eating daily foods that are contributing to this chronic low grade inflammation that can be so harmful. This inflammation can be reduced vastly by eating an alkaline plant based diet, and the inclusion of other anti inflammatory supplements such as milk thistle.

superfood green smoothie

If you are really serious about detoxifying your body, or know that you are feeling toxed up and generally under par, then there are certain detoxification foods and  highly alkaline green superfood powders that can really help to neutralise environmental toxins and heavy metals in the body. Add these every day along with your milk thistle supplements, and you should soon start to feel better 

It is important to see the correlation between detoxifying the body and the reduction of inflammation. You can’t take any one supplement to do this as there are so many other variables involved, therefore you will need to apply other healthy lifestyle changes to ensure long term health and protection from disease. 



eating an apple

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 your immune system stronger, your mind and memory sharper, and skin clearer.

The milk thistle helps ‘draw’ toxins out of the body, which may 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.



moisturised skin

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

Adding vitamin supplements C and E (or foods high in these nutrients) to your detox plan will enhance the anti aging effects and have a noticeable effect on skin tone and texture. These nutrients are good for skin SPECIFICALLY!


Milk Thistle Benefits – A Powerful Antioxidant!


diagram of a human liver

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.



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, again, chronic inflammation, and is one of the top causes of death in the western world.

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



stop diabetes sign

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 patients.



The liver works closely with the gallbladder, intestines, kidneys and pancreas to keep your system detoxified, 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.

Possible Milk Thistle Side Effects:-

Milk thistle can cause side effects AND interact with certain medications. Therefore if you take prescription drugs you should always consult with your doctor before considering this supplement.

I have never had a problem with milk thistle myself; but possible side effects include the following, and if any are experienced then you should discontinue use.

  • Stomach bloating, pain or gas
  • Indigestion
  • Itchy skin
  • Feeling sick
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Severe allergic reaction


Click Image for Closer Look!

As with any form of supplementation, you should always buy from a trusted and preferably organic brand for good quality control, and also strength and bio-availability.

If you have any comments or experiences that you would like to share about milk then I would love to know about them. Or maybe you have your own detox secrets you’d like to share. Please post them below. Thanks



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Stefanie Taylor

I have studied all things nutrition for many years and it is where my absolute passion lies. I and have recently transformed my life, health, and fitness with the plant based diet, and have been truly astounded by the new level of zest and vitality I feel because of it. I am here to share this with you, and to maybe help you on your own journey to this awesome state of being. Let's make the world a healthier, happier place together :-)


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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