What is a Milk Thistle Detox?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
Milk thistle is believed to help the liver repair itself.
Milk thistle is believed to help the liver repair itself.

Many different types of detoxes are available for people who choose to detoxify their bodies of potentially harmful substances. Milk thistle detox is a natural detox option that uses the milk thistle plant as its base ingredient. Used for thousands of years as an herbal detox, milk thistle has been linked to liver repair and other health benefits.

Milk thistle may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
Milk thistle may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

Most people who choose a milk thistle detox plan, do so after suffering ill effects from alcohol abuse. Alcoholic cirrhosis and hepatitis may be treated with milk thistle extract. Liver harm from other sources, including excessive use of pain relievers, may also be prevented through milk thistle use. Some studies indicate that the herb may also help the liver grow new cells. The actual ingredient in milk thistle that makes it effective in cleansing the liver is silymarin, a group of potent flavanoids.

Milk thistle is often used after alcohol abuse.
Milk thistle is often used after alcohol abuse.

To use a milk thistle detox, a physician should be consulted to ensure that the participant is healthy and will not suffer any ill effects from the process. Once provided with safe clearance, the detoxification process is very simple. Practitioners simply take milk thistle supplements containing the ingredient silymarin in order to rid the body, particularly the liver, of toxins.

The milk thistle plant is the base ingredient in milk thistle detox.
The milk thistle plant is the base ingredient in milk thistle detox.

When ingesting the supplements, detox users should use the product as directed. Milk thistle can be taken in the form of capsules, tinctures, or liquid extracts. A standard adult dose consists of one to two tenths of an ounce (280 to 450 milligrams) daily.

In addition to the milk thistle detox itself, other items can be added to the diet to ensure a successful liver cleanse. Other antioxidants, such as beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and selenium can be consumed to help the liver operate well. Unlike many other detoxification plans, eating certain foods is also recommended during or after the detox. These can include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and leafy green vegetables.

Other milk thistle benefits include the plant's anti-inflammatory properties. Milk thistle is also considered a good source of antioxidants. Milk thistle may also be effective in treating gallbladder ailments, high cholesterol, mushroom poisoning, and cancer.

Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult a physician before using milk thistle. The herbal remedy can interact with prescription drugs, such as oral contraceptives. Side effects of milk thistle detox may include diarrhea, indigestion, joint pain, itching, heartburn, sexual dysfunction, headache, and gas. People with allergies to certain foods and plants may enter anaphylactic shock upon ingesting milk thistle. Diabetic patients should also avoid the herb, as it may affect blood sugar levels.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

LisaLou

@honeybees - I have heard several stories of people using natural remedies to help with certain medical conditions. There is a couple that attends our church who have a daughter that was diagnosed with leukemia.

They have tried to balance out some of the side effects of her chemotherapy with natural remedies. They use milk thistle to counteract the liver inflammation from the chemotherapy drugs.

Before they told me about this, I had never heard of milk thistle before. I just know there are many different herbs and plants that can be used to promote health and healing. It sounds like milk thistle is one that has had several studies done on it.

honeybees

I have a good friend who has done more than one milk thistle liver detox. At one point she was on the list for a liver transplant because her liver was not working properly.

She started taking a holistic approach to her health and doing a regular milk thistle detox was one of those things. She has been off the transplant list for 10 years now.

She still struggles with energy, but feels better than she did years ago. I can see why the idea of a transplant really scares her. She is trying to do everything she can to strengthen her liver using natural products.

She has worked with her doctor during all of this. I don't think he expected her to see any results, and since then has encouraged her to keep on doing what she has been doing.

John57

I would be interested in trying some milk thistle for my gallbladder. I have what they call a spastic gallbladder which causes me a lot of pain every now and then.

I never have any idea what might set this off, and have not been able to link it to any certain foods I eat. I wonder if I took some milk thistle supplements on a regular basis if this would help with my gallbladder issues.

I know several people who have done a body cleansing detox, but I have never heard of a milk thistle detox before. I think any of them would work as long as you were able to get your body cleansed of all the toxins.

julies

I have been thinking about doing a liver cleansing detox, but am a little worried about going through the detox process. This sounds like one I could do if I was able to eat food while doing the cleansing.

Most cleanses don't allow you to eat and I think I would get an extremely bad headache if I didn't have any food at all.

I am interested in doing a milk thistle detox because I have taken pain relievers for many years, and I know how hard these can be on the liver. I think I need to start giving my liver more support and a milk thistle detox might be a good way to start.

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    • Milk thistle is believed to help the liver repair itself.
      By: nerthuz
      Milk thistle is believed to help the liver repair itself.
    • Milk thistle may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
      By: Kimberly Reinick
      Milk thistle may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
    • Milk thistle is often used after alcohol abuse.
      By: brhlena
      Milk thistle is often used after alcohol abuse.
    • The milk thistle plant is the base ingredient in milk thistle detox.
      By: Birute Vijeikiene
      The milk thistle plant is the base ingredient in milk thistle detox.