Milk Thistle and Liver Health

Milk Thistle: Benefits and Preparation

Benefits of Consuming Milk Thistle:

Milk thistle contains an active ingredient known as silymarin, which is protective to the liver and helps prevent liver damage. Silymarin is a group of flavonoids (silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin), which are thought to help repair liver cells damaged by alcohol or other toxic substances. It protects new liver cells from being destroyed, reduces inflammation, and is a powerful antioxidant. This substance has been shown to have benefits not only in liver disease from alcohol, but also viral hepatitis and cancer. It is also helpful for supporting your immune system and may also be beneficial for loss of appetite, heartburn, gallbladder complaints, enlarged prostate, type 2 diabetes, infertility and fatty liver disease. As your liver is a primary organ of detoxification in the body, we recommend making the immune support cereal for breakfast which includes ground milk thistle seeds. Other ideas are to add to baking, smoothies or to make a tea out of the seeds. Remember to pick up a package of milk thistle seeds on your next visit to the clinic and let food be your medicine.


Milk Thistle Preparation for Consumption

  • Grind milk thistle in a coffee grinder or spice mill
  • Add to smoothies or cereals
  • Add to fruit juice
  • Encapsulate
  • Whole seeds can be toasted and added to salads and breads
  • To make tea, put crushed seeds in a muslin bag and steep in hot water for 5 minutes.


Immune Support Cereal

This cereal is intended to strengthen the immune system by enhancing elimination, decreasing inflammation and supporting liver function.


  • 4 C rolled oats or rye flakes
  • 2 C oat bran
  •  ½ C dried fruit (raisins, currents, cherries)
  • 1 C seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame)
  • 1 C raw unsalted almonds
  • 1 C lecithin granules
  • 1 C flax seeds (ground)
  • 1 C milk thistle seeds (grounds)


  1. Grind ingredients specified then mix all ingredients together. Store in a closed container in the refrigerator.
  2. Add a little water to the amount you want to serve for breakfast (1/2 – 1 cup of cereal). Add the water at least 30 minutes before eating or try adding the night before and allow soaking overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. You may cook it like a hot cereal or add the following non-dairy substitutes—soy, rice, oat, coconut, hemp or almond milk or soy yogurt.


Source: Sheila M. Frodermann, MA, ND, FHANP, Naturopathic Physician Providence, RI

Other sources:


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