Milk thistle, which is known by several other names including St Mary’s thistle and Holy thistle, is a tall prickly plant which is native to the Mediterranean region but which now grows worldwide. Growing up to a maximum height of 10 feet, it has wide leaves which have white veins or blotches. The flowers are reddish-purple in colour and produce hard skinned fruits which contain seeds that look very similar to sunflower seeds. The seeds contain the medicinally active part of the plant and are frequently used to help both liver and gall bladder problems. In the past however, as its name might suggest, the plant was also used to promote the production of milk in breastfeeding mothers.
Sometimes Milk Thistle is referred to as Silymarin. This is actually a mixture of the herb’s active components, including Silybinin which is sometimes also called Silibinin or Silybin. The seeds contain other substances including flavones, a compound called silydianin, an essential oil, various bitter substances and mucilage.
Milk thistle acts primarily on the liver and the gall bladder. It can be used to help with hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), cirrhosis (fibrosis) of the liver and inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystisis). It is also thought to protect the liver from the damaging effect of poisons and toxins as well as helping to regenerate damaged cells. Other research has shown that it may have some action in lowering cholesterol levels. It can help where there is a low tolerance of dietary fats and it may be of benefit in reducing the growth of cancer cells in certain types of cancers.
Our Milk thistle supplement is called Milk Thistle+ Powder and is based on a combination of Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root. Each 50g pack contains:
Milk Thistle Seed 40mg
Dandelion Root powder 25mg
Milk Thistle+ Powder is designed to support the liver and is specifically indicated in helping with liver disease (including jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis and cholecystitis) and in helping recovery from cases where there has been poisoning or damage from either drugs or toxins.
The suggested dose is:
Cats, toy & small dogs ½ level scoop once daily
Medium dogs ½ level scoop twice daily
Large dogs 1 level scoop twice daily
Very large dogs 1½ level scoops twice daily
Denes Milk Thistle+ Powder is available in packs of 50g
Other useful Denes products in treating liver problems:
Other useful fact sheets to read: