|Silymarin, the flavonoid extracted from milk thistle, has been studied for treating all types of liver disease. For acute hepatitis, double-blind studies have shown mixed results.  A preparation of silymarin complexed with phosphatidylcholine was reported to help sufferers of chronic viral hepatitis. One small pilot study found that at least 420mg of silymarin was necessary each day. A controlled investigation found that silymarin decreased liver damage. One study has suggested that silymarin may be more effective for hepatitis B as opposed to hepatitis C.|
Recent findings have shown that silymarin has the ability to block fibrosis, a process that contributes to the eventual development of cirrhosis in persons with inflammatory liver conditions secondary to alcohol abuse or hepatitis. While there are no published clinical trials to date, this action makes milk thistle extract potentially attractive to persons with chronic hepatitis C – particularly those that have not responded to standard drug therapy.
Silybum Marianum (80% extract), 200 to 300mg three times per day, protects the liver. It may also be used as phosphatidylcholine-bound silymarin (100 to 150mg three times per day).
 Magliulo E, Gagliardi B, Fiori GP. Results of a double blind study on the effect of silymarin in the treatment of acute viral hepatitis carried out at two medical centers. Med Klin 1978;73: pp.1060-5 [in German]
 Bode JC, Schmidt U, Durr HK. Silymarin for the treatment of acute viral hepatitis? Report of a controlled trial. Med Klin 1977;72: pp.513-8 [in German]
 Vailati A, Aristia L, Sozze E, et al. Randomized open study of the dose-affect relationship of a short course of IdB 1016 in patients with viral or alcoholic hepatitis. Fitoterapia 1993;64:219-27
 Buzzelli G, Moscarella S, Giusti A, et al. A pilot study on the liver protective effect of silybinphosphatidylcholine complex (IdB 1016) in chronic active hepatitis. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1993;31: pp.456-60
 Lirussi F, Okolicsanyi L. Cytoprotection in the nineties: experience with ursodeoxycholic acid and silymarin in chronic liver disease. Acta Physiol Hung 1992;80: pp.363-7
 Schuppan D, Strösser W, Burkard G, Walosek G. Legalon® lessens fibrosing activity in patients with chronic liver diseases. Zeits Allgemeinmed 1998;74: pp.577-84
|Milk thistle is renowned for its ability to support and stimulate the liver, the organ primarily responsible for ridding the body of alcohol. Some recommend taking 500mg of milk thistle before embarking on a long night of drinking, and if the session is particularly heavy, taking 350mg three times daily for a couple of days thereafter.|