15% off £30


15% off £30



🏷️ 3 for 2 Mix & MatchOffersOffers Hub3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 priceGreat SavingsBuy 1 Get 1 Free1/2 PriceBetter than 1/2 priceIntroductory Offer3 for £3 Mix & MatchShort DatedBuy 6 for £15 Mix & MatchVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & Supplements3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletBuy 1 Get 1 FreeHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Bach Original Flower RemediesDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas & Hot BeveragesTeaCoffee & Coffee SubstituteMushroom DrinksDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinksShop all DrinksKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete Food3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletBuy one get one 1/2 priceHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdManuka DoctorGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeSulphites FreeCelery FreeKiwi FreeMustard FreeFish FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 Price3 for 2 Mix & MatchGreat SavingsOptimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNApplied NutritionGrenadePhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual Wellness3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeParfum FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein Bars3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceGreat SavingsOptimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettPulsinUSNPhDEat WaterApplied NutritionNatures AidNew NordicDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & Relaxation3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBeurerDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeParfum FreeAlcohol FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeSugar FreeCelery FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast
milk thistle flower in field

Best milk thistle supplements

21 Apr 2021 • 1 min read

Milk thistle is a really odd-looking, prickly herb, which is topped with a hairy purple flower!

It is related to the daisy and ragweed family, and native to the Mediterranean part of the world.1

So what is it used for? And how do you know which are the best types of milk thistle supplements?

What are the benefits of milk thistle?

Milk thistle is known to have antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.2

It has also been used as a traditional remedy for liver and gallbladder disorders, to promote breast milk production, and to protect the liver from snake bites, other poisons, and alcohol.3

Though milk thistle is often used as a complementary therapy for people with liver diseases or ailments, there is no evidence that it could help prevent you from getting those conditions, particularly if you have an unhealthy diet and consume lots of alcohol.4

Milk thistle could also provide heart benefits, by lowering cholesterol levels, and it could benefit people with type 2 diabetes and cirrhosis.5

It is also possible that milk thistle could help with age-related decline in brain function.

Traditionally, it has been used as a remedy for conditions like Alzheimers and Parkinson’s. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties mean that it could be neuroprotective.6

Its key active ingredient has been found to prevent oxidative damage of brain cells, and that in turn could also help prevent mental decline.7

What to look out for in a milk thistle supplement

The active ingredients in milk thistle are some plant compounds that together are known as silymarin.8

When considering buying a supplement, check out its ingredient list and consider how much silymarin it contains.

Silymarin can exert membrane-stabilizing and antioxidant activity. It promotes hepatocyte regeneration, and inhibits fibrogenesis in the liver, according to various clinical trials. 9

Hepatocytes are the main functional cells of the liver, and they perform a huge range of metabolic, endocrine, and secretory functions.10

Fibrogenisis is a pathological condition that results from an excessive growth of fibrous connective tissue in an organ like the liver. 11

Milk thistle tea, tablets, extracts or drops: which is best?

Milk thistle extract has a high proportion of silymarin, at around 65 to 80 percent.12 The extract can be consumed in a tablet, or as drops.

Milk thistle tea

Milk thistle tea is usually made up of the fruit and seeds of the plant.

The tea has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries, but the scientific studies of the benefits of the tea have produced mixed results.

Some people also just drink the tea for its cleansing, soothing effect, and general healthy nature.

Most of the tea though, is of course water, which means that most of the nutrients from the herb are diluted.13

Milk thistle tablets

You can also consume milk thistle as a tablet, including as effervescent tablets and as capsules.

The advantage of this format is that you know just how much you are taking, and can consume a regular daily amount.

 Some people take milk thistle tablets to help with indigestion.

One capsule twice a day, to help relieve symptoms associated with an upset stomach is the recommended dosage, based on traditional use.14

Milk thistle drops

Milk thistle drops are sometimes combined with other beneficial herbs, such as dandelion or peppermint extract.

You can add a few drops a day to a small amount of water, or another drink, but check the packaging to work out how many drops you will need.

Milk thistle seeds

You can also actually eat the fresh ground seeds of a milk thistle, if you can manage to get hold of them.

You can use a coffee grinder to churn them into a coarse powder. You can then sprinkle them on anything you eat – from shakes, to salads, to your morning cereal.

The seeds taste sweet and bitter at once, and have an oily texture, so they may be an acquired tasted.15

In terms of how much you will need, a safe dosage of milk thistle is around 420 milligrams per day, for up to 3.5 years.

Milk thistle extract

Alternatively, an extract (in tablet or drop form), that contains 200 to 400 milligrams of silymarin is typically considered an effective amount.16

A note that when it comes to milk thistle tea, you cannot really drink too much of it.

However, people who have an allergy to plants in the same family, such as ragweed, daises, marigolds and chrysanthemums, may also have an allergic reaction to milk thistle.17

Usually, however, no allergic reaction would be noted until the dosage was excessive, at around 1.5 grams in a single day.18

Last updated: 31 March 2021


  1. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/milk-thistle-benefits-and-side-effects
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26755857
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-thistle-benefits
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-thistle-benefits
  5. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/milk-thistle-benefits-and-side-effects
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-thistle-benefits
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19647779/
  8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-thistle-benefits
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21466434/
  10. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/liver/histo_hcytes.html
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4539753/
  12. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-thistle-benefits
  13. https://www.webmd.com/diet/milk-thistle-tea-good-for-you
  14. https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/holland-barrett-milk-thistle-capsules-60099080/
  15. https://www.cambridgenaturals.com/blog/milk-thistle-food-for-the-liver
  16. https://www.drugs.com/npp/milk-thistle.html
  17. https://www.webmd.com/diet/milk-thistle-tea-good-for-you
  18. https://www.drugs.com/npp/milk-thistle.html

Bhupesh Panchal


Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2023. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.