Milk Thistle Extract and Herb
How to Buy and Dosage

Milk thistle extract should be made from the seeds, which contain silymarin. How to consume this extract in the form of capsules, liquid drop or tea bags.

When using the plant milk thistle, it is the seed not the leaves or flowers that are used medicinally. The seeds contain about 4-6% silymarin and when made into a milk thistle extract. It may be standardized to contain 80% silymarin.

The silymarin is not just one compound in itself. Silymarin is a mixture of polyphenols that include silybin A, silybin B, silychristin, isochilychristin, silydianin, isosilybin A and isosilybin B.


Like most herbs, milk thistle can be used in the form of tea bags, extracts, or tinctures. All forms of the herb have benefits in the body.

The usual dosage is 180 milligrams, 1 to 2 capsules three times a day, or Silybum extract 30 drops 2- 4 times daily.

If you purchase tea bags, 1 – 2 tea bags per day is plenty. Simply boil a cup of water, add the tea bag, steep for 5 minutes, and drink when cool.

General Rule

Your best way to learn dosages on most herbs is to simply read the labels and do what the labels recommend.

Often, the general rule for how much herb to take is one teaspoon in one cup boiling water one to two times per day or 2 size “00” capsules two to three times a day.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. That’s when you may need a health practitioner knowledgeable in herbs to help you decide what is your best dosage.

Too little herb results often in no medicinal benefit; too much herb results in the potential for overdose.

Milk Thistle Root and Leaves

Milk thistle can be eaten as a wilderness survival food. The roots can be eaten raw or they can be boiled in a pot of water. They may also be parboiled and then roasted.

If you’re going to eat the leaves, choose the young tender leaves in the springtime after boiling and flavoring. Trim them of any prickles. You can eat them raw in salads and use them as if they were spinach.

The stems should be peeled and soaked for 6 to 8 hours to remove any bitterness, then add them to stews.

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