Thistle Flower

A milk thistle liver cleanse could be very beneficial to both you and your pets. But first...


Milk thistle (silybum marianum) is a plant that is common in most places throughout the world. It's pretty flowers show themselves in June to August here in the midwest and the seeds are harvested at the end of summer. It is the seeds we are interested in because they contain a flavonoid called silymarin.

Silymarin is thought to help repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances. Silymarin also keeps new liver cells from being destroyed by these same toxins. It reduces inflammation (which is why it is often suggested for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis) and is a strong antioxidant. For this reason milk thistle has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver and gall bladder problems.

Why do a milk thistle liver cleanse?

Your liver is one of the most important organs in your body. (and your 2nd largest!) The liver provides many functions of which just two are processing nutrients and detoxifying your blood. It keeps toxins from overwhelming the body and breaks them down so they can be flushed. Literally!

In today's world our livers are working overtime no matter how healthy of a lifestyle we may lead. We're exposed to toxins constantly whether it's air pollution, fumes of cleaning fluids, medications (including over the counter medicines), alcohol, smoke and numerous others.

Signs of a clogged liver can also be early symptoms of liver failure so see a medical professional if this list relates to you!

  • Poor complexion and/or skin problems
  • Headaches including migraines
  • Fluid retention
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety attacks, mood swings, depression
  • Indigestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Bad breath
  • Premature aging
  • Dizziness
  • Light coloration of stool
  • Jaundice
  • Bloating
  • Ticks, spasms and tremors

Note: Information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent illness. Please be wise with your choices, seek medical attention/direction if symptoms do not improve or get worse, if you are pregnant or nursing, on medications, or if you are already under a doctor’s care.


A milk thistle liver cleanse is said to help:

  • Alcoholic fatty liver
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver poisoning - including mushroom poisoning
  • Psoriasis
  • Inflamatory bowel disease
  • Candida
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Lower cholesterol

Milk thistle dosages depend on the form used. It's available as a tincture, capsules, glycerides, or a Silymarin phosphatidylcholine complex. Simply follow directions on packaging.

Milk thistle for dogs

Milk thistle can be beneficial to dogs with liver problems also though it's always a good idea to contact a holistic veterinarian before using. According to Mary and Gregory Tilford, authors of Herbs for Pets (a great reference book!), the dosage should be 1/4 teaspoon of tincture per 20 pounds of body weight. Combine with equal parts water then mix into your pets food. The same dosage goes when using milk thistle for cats.

Milk Thistle Side Effects

Side effects from milk thistle are not very common but large doses can cause headaches and stomach problems.

Pregnant women and pets should avoid using milk thistle.

If you are looking for a capsule form I really like Nature's Way Milk Thistle because it does not contain any fillers like magnesium stearate. Iherb is also a great company that ships internationally!

Do you have any milk thistle stories?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Milk thistle for parrots Not rated yet
At the zoo we use a drop of milk thistle liquid in our liver-issue prone parrots diet daily to help them live longer, healthier lives. You’d be surprised …

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Livatrex® is an enhanced vegan-friendly, herbal blend that supports liver detoxification and promotes normal, healthy function of the liver and gallbladder.
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