Milk thistle extracts have been used as a “liver tonic” for centuries. In recent years, silibinin, the active ingredient in milk thistle extracts, has been studied both in vitro and in vivo to evaluate the beneficial effects in hepatic disease. Silibinin increases antioxidant concentrations and improves outcomes in hepatic diseases resulting from oxidant injury. Silibinin treatment has been associated with protection against hepatic toxins, and also has resulted in decreased hepatic inflammation and fibrosis (original abstract available at


J Vet Intern Med. 2013 Jan-Feb;27(1):10-6. doi: 10.1111/jvim.12002. Epub 2012 Nov 9.
Milk thistle and its derivative compounds: a review of opportunities for treatment of liver disease.
Hackett ES, Twedt DC, Gustafson DL.