Silybum marianum Common name: Milk Thistle
Part used: Fruit/Seed
Constituents: Flavolignans (silymarin complex), flavonoids, volatile oil, bitter principle, mucilage
Actions: Cholagogue, hepatic, hepatoprotective & hepatorestorative, galactagogue, demulcent
Medical uses: Research has shown that it promotes the regeneration of diseased liver cells and protects them against some poisons. This gives it a role in any chronic liver disease and especially those due to alcohol, drug, or dietary abuse. It will also aid in gall bladder problems. It will increase the production of milk and is safe to use by all breastfeeding mothers.
Pharmacy: Tincture: (1:1, 60%), 5-10ml QD. Crushed fruit: 80-200mg TID. Infusion: 1/2 tsp/cup, infuse 15 min, 1/2 cup TID. Standardized extract: (80% silymarin), 175-600mg QD. Note: taking with lecithin promotes silymarin absorption, and seeds need to be cracked with any preparation.
Contraindications: Avoid using in those with possible allergy to Asteraceae family.
Toxicity: Though rare some adverse effects have been reported (sweating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea).
Interactions: May increase metabolism of some drugs.