Milk thistle is an herbal remedy derived from the milk thistle plant, also known as Silybum marianum.
The active ingredients in milk thistle are a group of plant compounds collectively known as silymarin.
The silymarin extracted from milk thistle is known to have antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Milk thistle is often promoted for its liver-protecting effects. It’s regularly used as a complementary therapy by people who have liver damage due to conditions like alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis and even liver cancer. Although more research is needed on how it works, milk thistle is thought to reduce damage to the liver caused by free radicals, which are produced when your liver metabolizes toxic substances.
In fact, it has traditionally been used to treat gallbladder disorders, promote breast milk production, prevent and treat cancer and even protect the liver from snake bites, alcohol and other environmental poisons.
Milk thistle is generally considered safe. Nevertheless, pregnant women, those allergic to the Asteraceae family of plants, those with diabetes and anyone with an estrogen-sensitive condition should seek medical advice before taking it.