Milk Thistle

Botanical name

Silybum marianum

Common Names

St. mary's thistle, blessed milk thistle, marian thistle, scotch thistle


Compositae (Asteraceae)


This type of thistle is found throughout the world and is a popular antidote for a hangover. 

Part supplied

The whole seeds.

Food Use


Use 1 teaspoon of dried herb to one cup of boiling water to make a tasty tea. Infuse for 5-10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or lemon to taste.

Alternatively add half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of tincture to a cup of warm water for a quick alternative to tea.

The herb can be added as a flavouring to gin, vodka and other infusions.

Medicinal Use

Premium liver tonic, useful for all conditions involving the liver, e.g. excess alcohol consumption, hormonal disorders, liver disease.

Key actions: Choleretic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, hepatic trophorestorative (restores nutrients within the liver).

In clinic: Herbalists use this herb to treat gallbladder and liver issues (gallstones, hepatitis, jaundice).   

If you are interested in the medicinal use of this herb please consult a herbalist. Herbs are generally used at medicinal strength, in blends, prescribed for each unique patient's condition.


Decoction: 1 teaspoon of herb to a cup of cold water, bring to the boil and leave to sit for 15 minutes. Or steep 1 teaspoon bark in cold water overnight. Flavour with lemon, ginger or honey if desired. Drink 3 times a day unless otherwise told by a medical herbalist.

Tincture: Take 4 ml (1:3 in 45% tincture), 3 times a day or as directed by a practitioner.

Fluid extract: 1:1 Take 1.5 to 2.8 ml, 3 times a day or as directed by a practitioner.

Dried Herb: Maximum of 15 g of seed per day may be taken as a powder or capsules.

Other Uses

Cosmetic Use

None known.

Other Uses

None known.



There is a known allergy to this herb.

This herb is considered safe in food amounts. Do not take if you are allergic to this plant or other members of this plant's family (Compositae). Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children. If in doubt, please ask us or your medical herbalist.

Side effects

Although infrequent, milk thistle can cause anaphylaxis as a side effect of use. Plant extracts cause few side effects when taken correctly but if a side effect is experienced please contact us.

Interactions with drugs

None known.

Herbal remedies and supplements can interact with medicines. If you are taking medication please check with your medical practitioner, or call us, before taking herbs, supplements and medication together.

More Information


There are currently no articles related to this herb.


Look in our recipes section for more uses of this herb.


Read the latest PubMed research on this herb.

Add to BagSilybum marianum Milk thistle seed whole 100g £4.75
Add to BagSilybum marianum Milk thistle seed whole 1kg £31.50
Add to BagSilybum marianum Milk thistle 100ml £5.00
Add to BagSilybum marianum Milk thistle 500ml £16.04
Add to BagSilybum marianum Milk thistle 1L £26.67

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