milk thistle for fatty liver

How to Use Milk Thistle for Fatty Liver

Fatty liver disease is becoming a common health problem now due to modern lifestyle. A liver is called fatty liver when its fat accumulation exceeds 5 %. The liver is an essential organ of your body for making proteins and blood clotting, triglycerides and cholesterol, glycogen synthesis, and bile production.

Obesity, belly fat, excess consumption of alcohol, refined carbs and carbonated drinks and fats contribute to making a fatty liver. It is a reversible condition in early stages but if not treated then fatty liver can lead to hepatitis, cirrhosis, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Home remedies like milk thistle tea and others can reverse and stop fatty liver particularly when supported with a proper diet.

Learn more about fatty liver and how to use milk thistle to treat it.

Table of Contents

What is Fatty Liver?

A liver is considered fatty liver when the fat accumulation in the liver is more than 5%. Some accumulation of fat in the liver is normal.

There are two types of fatty liver diseases as under:

  • Alcoholic Liver Disease ( ALD)
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Both these diseases are reversible in early stages, but if proper care is not given then they can lead to cardiovascular diseases and malignancy in some cases.


Causes of Fatty Liver

Following are some if the main causes of Fatty Liver

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol causes fatty liver and many other complications in the body
  • Too much consumption of refined carbs and sugary drinks creates similar conditions as alcohol for fat accumulation in the liver
  • Obesity increases fat accumulation in the liver
  • Excessive belly fat also does the same impact as obesity on fat accumulation in the liver
  • Insulin resistance and high insulin levels both leads to fatty liver
  • Imbalance in the good and bad bacteria in the gut can lead to fat accumulation

Symptoms of Fatty Liver

One or of the following symptoms will be felt once you have fatty liver

  • Feeling of fullness and slight pain in the right center of abdomen
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing if eyes and skin

How Milk Thistle Treats Fatty Liver?

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) is also known as silymarin but actually silymarin is a name given to a group of compounds of milk thistle. These main components are silibinin, silydianin and silicristin.

Ancient physicians used it to treat various kinds of liver diseases. Various scientific studies have now reported positive impact of silymarin and specifically of silibinin to inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines which improves oxidative profile resulting in improvements in glucose and lipid metabolism and intra-hepatic fat accumulation.

It is this aspect of silymarin and silibinin along with some lifestyle and dietary changes that helps in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD).

How to Use Milk Thistle for Fatty Liver?

1. Milk Thistle Tea


  • 2 teaspoons milk thistle seeds
  • 300 ml.water


  • Crush 2 teaspoons of milk thistle powder in a mortar
  • Bring 300ml water to boil
  • Add milk thistle powder to the boiling water
  • Steep for 15 minutes
  • Strain and drink
  • Drink it one hour before your lunch and dinner


2. Milk Thistle Dandelion Tea


  • 1 teaspoon milk thistle seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dandelion root
  • 300ml water


  • Bring 300ml water to boil
  • Crush 1 teaspoon milk thistle seeds and 1 teaspoon dandelion roots in fine powder in a coffee grinder
  • Add the powder to boiling water
  • Let it steep for 20 minutes
  • Strain and drink
  • Drink it an hour before the lunch and dinner for best results.

3. Milk Thistle Supplements

Since Milk thistle supplements are not coming in standard forms. Make the tea based on manufacturers recommendations.

Drinking the tea an hour before each meal helps better digestion and absorption of key compounds.

Benefits of Milk Thistle in Addition to Fatty Liver

  • Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • Decreases blood sugar levels and helps in Diabetes type 2
  • Improves liver function and deals with cirrhosis
  • Treats jaundice and hepatitis
  • Improves gallbladder disorders
  • Improves skin conditions
  • Supports weight loss
  • Improves bone health

Other Tips and Precautions

  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Limit or completely stop alcohol depending on the extent if fatty liver
  • Milk Thistle is generally safe for prolonged use but in some cases may cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, bloating or stomach upset
  • Breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women should avoid milk thistle as a precaution although no adverse effects have been reported.
  • People with ragweed allergy should avoid milk thistle as it may Causes rashes in them.
  • It interferes with certain medications which are processed in the liver, estrogens and statins and other. Check with your doctor before taking milk thistle for your fatty liver

Bottom Line is, if you have been told that you have fatty liver then start taking precautions, treat it as it is reversible in early stages. Untreated fatty liver may cause cardiovascular diseases and malignancy.