What does research say about Milk Thistle

By May 17, 2018Blog, Detox, Immune System, Liver

“What do you use milk thistle for?”

This herb is a must for supporting and cleansing (detoxifying) the liver for anyone with any sort of debilitating liver function or exposure to toxins, and support and boost the Immune System.


Milk Thistle is unique in its ability to protect the liver and has no equivalent in the pharmaceutical drug world. Milk thistle acts in a similar fashion to detoxify other synthetic chemicals that find their way into our bodies like acetaminophen, alcohol, heavy metals and radiation.

This herb is thought to be able to promote healthy digestive function by:

Promoting enzyme formation

Increasing bile production

Decreasing inflammation

Soothing the mucous membranes throughout the body


Milk thistle was approved in 1986 as a treatment for liver disease and it is widely used to treat alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver, cirrhosis, liver poisoning and viral hepatitis.

The active ingredient, or liver-protecting compound in milk thistle is known as silymarin. This substance, which consists of a group of compounds called flavonolignans, helps repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances by stimulating protein synthesis. By changing the outside layer of liver cells, it also prevents certain toxins from getting inside. Silymarin also seems to encourage liver cell growth. It can reduce inflammation (important for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis) and has potent antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from damage caused by a chemical process called oxidation. (1)

Liver Detoxification & Health

As a liver support and liver aid, milk thistle is a powerful liver cleanser. It helps rebuild liver cells while removing toxins from the body that are processed through the liver. Milk thistle is effective at naturally reversing the harmful effects of alcohol consumption, pesticides in our food supply, heavy metals in our water supply, pollution in the air that we breathe and even poisons!

The liver constantly works hard to help defend us from toxins that are common in our everyday life, acting like a filter and removing harmful substances from the body. Milk thistle is shown to decrease, or even reverse, damage to the liver that’s been caused by prescription medications, alcohol use, antibiotics, and pollution. (2)



Preliminary laboratory studies also suggest that active substances in milk thistle may have anti-cancer effects. One active substance known as silymarin has strong antioxidant properties and has been shown to inhibit the growth of human prostate, breast, and cervical cancer cells in test tubes.

Milk thistle seeds are a high source of the antioxidant flavonoid called silymarin, which is actually composed of several other active compounds known as flavolignans (3). Silymarin is associated with decreasing the risk for cancer development by boosting the immune system, fighting DNA damage and reversing cancerous tumor growth.

In 2007, after reviewing numerous studies involving milk thistle therapeutic treatments, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that: There is strong preclinical evidence for silymarin’s hepatoprotective and anticarcinogenic effects, including inhibition of cancer cell growth in human prostate, skin, breast, and cervical cells. (4)

Silymarin acts as a cancer protector because it’s “a toxin blockade agent” and inhibits the binding of toxins to the cell membrane receptors, according to researchers at the University Magna Graecia Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine. (5)


Liver disease from alcohol

A comprehensive review by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently identified 16 scientific studies on the use of milk thistle for the treatment of various forms of liver disease. A European standardized extract of milk thistle was used in most of the trials. Problems in study design (such as small numbers of participants, variations in the causes of liver disease, and differences in dosing and duration of milk thistle therapy) made it difficult to draw any definitive conclusions. However, five of seven studies evaluating milk thistle for alcoholic liver disease found significant improvements in liver function. Those with the mildest form of the disease appeared to improve the most. Milk thistle was less effective for those with severe liver disease such as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is characterized by scarring and permanent, non-reversible damage to the liver. It is often referred to as end-stage liver disease.


Milk Thistle is a very powerful herb:

  • It helps detoxify the liver
  • Supports and boosts the immune system
  • It may help reverse liver damage


OR Supplements created CHEMregen. A supplement with Milk Thistle formulated to support and maintain the health of the liver and promote a strong immune system.

One serving on CHEMRegen (2 tablets) contains 500 MG of Organic Milk Thistle Extract. For more information go HERE.

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