Milk Thistle: Dosage and How to Use

Milk thistle flower
Milk thistle flower

Mean daily dose is 12-15 g of milk thistle fruit or 200-400 mg of sylimarin, as calculated per silibinin.1 Sylimarin is poorly water-soluble, so extracts and tinctures contain much more of the agent compared to infusions. 2 The best effects are achieved when milk thistle is used for longer periods of time – 2-3 months.

Decoction: 3,4,5

Milk thistle fruit should be pulverised in a mortar, crushed or milled. Pour 1 glass of hot water onto 1 teaspoonful of the powder (3–5 g) and heat until it boils. Simmer over low heat, covered, for 5-10 minutes. Leave for 15 min and filter.

In cases of poisoning, liver and gallbladder conditions, indigestion: drink a glass of the decoction three times a day, half an hour before a meal (that is 3 teaspoonfuls of milk thistle fruit daily).

As an antihaemorrhagic agent: drink 1 tablespoonful every 1 hour.

In case of preventive use the dose may be reduced: drink half a glass of decoction two times a day (that is 1 teaspoonful of milk thistle fruit a day).


Powdered milk thistle seeds may be also consumed directly, 12-15 g a day (approximately 1 tablespoonful).


Milk thistle fruit should be crushed in a mortar or milled into powder. Transfer the powder into a glass vessel and add 40% alcohol, keeping a proportion of 1:10. Leave for 3 weeks, shake regularly. Then filter and pour into bottles fitted with a dropper. For digestion disorders, migraine or varicose veins, take 15-25 drops of the tincture 3 times a day. The tincture contains alcohol, therefore it cannot be used in case of liver cirrhosis!

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  1. 1. World Health Organization (2002) WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants: Volume 2. ISBN: 9789241545372
  2. 2. Awang D. V. C., Robbers J. E. (2009) Tyler's Herbs of Choice: the Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. CRC, Boca Raton. ISBN: 0789028093
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  4. 4. Sarwa A. (2001) Wielki leksykon roślin leczniczych. Książka i Wiedza, Warszawa.
  5. 5. Fugh-Berman A. (2003) The 5-Minute Herb and Dietary Supplement Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Hagerstwon. ISBN 0683302736, 9780683302738
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