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Milk Thistle
(Silybum marianum or Cardui marianum)

General Description:  Annual/biennial plant that grows 5-10 ft, with shiny green leaves with white veins.  It produces a flower head that is reddish-purple from June to August.

Parts Used:  Seeds, fruits, and leaves

Uses: 

            jaundice

            promotes bile production

            a liver cleansing agent

            hemorrhoids

             mushroom poisoning 

Actions: Contain flavinolignans, known as silymarin.  It alters liver cell membranes to prevent the uptake of toxins, antioxidant properties, regenerates liver cells.  Also produces anti-infammatory activity, enhances immune function, increases bile secretions and may lower cholesterol production.

Dosage:  Standardized extracts - 35-70 mg  three/times/day

     Average dose - 280-420 mg/day

     Tincture - 3-12 ml daily

Precautions/Adverse Effects:  Rare, except for mild diarrhea, and allergic reactions if hypersenitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. (daisy, marigolds, ragweed, etc.)

Contraindications: Severe liver disease.  Pregnancy and lactation.

Nursing Considerations:

  Onset of effects is usually 5-8 days, with reversal of damage in 1-2 months.  Remission of chronic hepatitis is 6 months - 1 year.

  Teas are largely ineffective due to silymarin in Milk Thistle isn't water soluble.  

 Monitor liver function test. 

(References)

Aloe ] Bilberry ] Black Cohash ] Chamomile ] Chaste Berry Tree ] Dong Quai ] Echinacea ] Evening Primrose Oil ] Feverfew ] Garlic ] Ginger ] Ginkgo ] Ginseng ] Guarana ] Hawthorn ] Horse Chestnut ] Kava-Kava ] Ma Huang ] [ Milk Thistle ] Nettle ] St. John's Wort ] Saw Palmetto ] Tea Tree Oil ] Valerian ] Yohimbe ]