15 Amazing Milk Thistle Benefits

milk thistle benefits

The liver is one of the most important organs in our bodies and this is why detoxifying it is a must. One of the best and long used natural liver detoxifiers is milk thistle.

So what is really this milk thistle and what are its benefits to the body?

What Is Milk Thistle?

Also known as the blessed thistle, Mary thistle, Marian thistle, variegated thistle, Mediterranean-milk thistle, Scotch thistle, and St. Mary’s thistle, Milk thistle is just a typical flowering plant that natively grows in the Mediterranean region.

Best known for its overwhelming effects on the overall liver health, the different parts of this flowering plant were traditionally used for treating a wide variety of health disorders.

What makes milk thistle one of the most amazing natural herbs with endless potential health benefits is its only active ingredient which is known as silymarin.

Know that you know what this herb is, let’s now look at the 15 major benefits of milk thistle and the scientific evidence supporting them.

Supports Liver Health

Among all the milk thistle uses, this is definitely it’s most common. According to 2016 research, milk thistle has been proved to recover diet-induced liver damage in mice.

Silymarin which is the active ingredient in it acts as an antioxidant thereby reducing production of free radicals. This is what researchers believe creates the detoxifying effect.

Boosts Immune System

According to a 2016 research that was conducted on an animal model, milk thistle extract has the ability to improve a person’s immunity.

When regularly used, milk thistle may help one to strengthen his or her immune response as well as in fighting infections.

Promotes Skin Health

The oil from milk thistle is very beneficial when it comes to improving skin health. A study that was conducted in 2015 confirmed that when applied to the sin, milk thistle has the ability to recover inflammatory skin conditions.

Further studies showed that it also had anti-aging properties on the human skin cells when applied on the skin.

Beneficial For People With Type 2 Diabetes

Recently, researchers have been able to discover that milk thistle may be very helpful in regulating the blood sugar level.

According to a 2007 research done by a university in Spain known as Universidad de Salamanca, it has “anti-hyperglycemic properties” that makes it beneficial for those people with type 2 diabetes.

Helps With Depression

Liver overload can result in the buildup of neurotoxin in the brain which in turn can cause mental imbalances like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Since milk thistle supports detoxification, it can help to turn around neurological imbalances and depressive conditions.

Reduces Cholesterol

A study that was conducted in 2006 suggested that milk thistle has an important role to play when it comes to keeping the body’s cholesterol levels at check.

The study indicated that the cholesterol levels of those people who regularly used milk thistle for diabetes were ultimately lower compared to who used a placebo.

Supports Weight Loss

In a study done in 2016, silymarin which is its main ingredient was found to facilitate weight loss in mice that had previously been fed on foods that were known to cause weight gain.

From this research, researchers claim that milk thistle may be beneficial if you are looking to cut on some pounds.

Reduces Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is one of the major problems that are faced by those people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Thankfully, a study conducted on mice has discovered that milk thistle can help in reducing insulin resistance.

Help During Too Much Alcohol Consumption

Many studies have suggested that milk thistle has the ability to help reverse the damage to the liver that is caused by prolonged alcohol consumption.

Helps Clear Out Gallstones

Many studies have linked the use of milk thistle to a reduction in gallstones.

The studies also found out that apart from boosting gallbladder, it also helps in case of Cholestasis whereby the gallbladder decreases or stops bile formation.

Improves Allergic Asthma Symptoms

A study conducted in 2002 confirmed that Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle, has the ability to reduce inflammation.

In the study, milk thistle helped in protecting against inflammation in the airway passages of those mice that had allergic asthma.

Limits The Spread Of Cancer

According to a 2016 review, milk thistle extract has the ability to inhibit the growth and reproduction of cancerous cells in colorectal cancer.

This means that it has the ability to stop the growth and spread of specific types of cancer.

Detoxifies One From Too Many Pharmaceutical Pain Relievers

Thanks to its overwhelming benefits on the liver, milk thistle also has the ability to assist with the detoxification if you have been on heavy pharmaceutical use.

This was confirmed after research that was done in 2010 by the University Magna Graecia. Silymarin which is its main ingredient was found to counter the negative side effects that came as a result of heavy acetaminophen use.

Supports Bone Health

A study that was conducted in 2013 confirmed that milk thistle was responsible for preventing bone loss in humans. The study mainly focused on bone loss which was as a result of a deficiency in the hormone estrogen.

Since it is not clear if it is equally important for bone loss resulting from other causes, further studies still need to be done on its benefits on human bone health.

Improves Cognition

Oxidative stress is one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study done in 2015, milk thistle was found to increase the resistance towards oxidative stress.

This means that regularly using milk thistle may help when it comes to treating degenerative conditions and improving cognition.


From these milk thistle benefits, it is arguable that milk thistle is not only beneficial for the liver but also ensures the overall health of your body.

There is no any milk thistle side effects, supplementing with it regularly can be a great new way to treat and prevent yourself from a wide range of health conditions.


  1. Wow this is amazing!! I’ve never even heard of milk thistle or any of those other nicknames but I could definitely use something to help with my bone health and I know someone who could benefit from the asthma help. Great article!

  2. Oh so that is where that ingredient Silymarin comes from! This post has so much information that I have come to know just know.

  3. i have never heard of milk thistle but if its most common purpose is to detoxify the liver, i’m surprised i haven’t heard it as a common dietary recommendation as liver problems is becoming a common issue due to alcoholism and polypharmacy and drugs

  4. It was just recently that the doctors found two benign masses in my niece’s liver. I will recommend that she considers milk thistle as a supplement for her to achieve liver health.

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