Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), also known as holy thistle, is a plant native to the Mediterranean regions. It has a long history of use as food and medicinal herb for treating liver disease and variety of disorders [***].

For centuries, herbalists and physicians have utilized milk thistle as treatment for fatty liver diseases, hepatitis, cirrhosis, snake bites, jaundice, upper gastrointestinal and digestive disorders, menstrual disorders, and varicose veins among others [***]. 

To this day, milk thistle remains a popular herb and typically used for promoting healthy liver function.

Milk thistle contains a mixture of flavonolignans (silibinin, isosilibinin, silichristin and silidianin), flavonoids (taxifolin, quercetin) and polyphenolic molecules. These compounds are known collectively as silymarin [*]. 

Silibinin is the most bioactive compound in silymarin, and it protects the liver in various ways. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antifibrotic effects, as well as the ability to ameliorate insulin resistance. Through these mechanisms, silymarin promote healthy liver function [*]. 

Furthermore, silymarin from milk thistle also have potential anticancer [*], renal-protective [*], neuroprotective [*], pancreas-protective [*], antidiabetic [**], bone-protective [**], immunomodulatory [*], skin-protective and anti-aging effects [*] among others [*].

Although milk thistle demonstrates health benefits, there is still a call for additional research to determine its efficacy and mechanism of action [*].

There are a variety of milk thistle supplements available in the market. These products are labeled as milk thistle extract or silymarin. These products claim to have liver-protective, detoxifying, antioxidant, skin protective, and anti-aging effects. 

The popularity of milk thistle has led to hundreds of brands flooding the marketplace; however not all supplements are created equal! Unfortunately, more than 90% of milk thistle supplements in the market simply DON’T WORK!

We understand the challenges in finding the right supplement for your health needs. That’s why we gathered years of research and made this guide to help you find the top-rated formulas that work for you.

Things To Be Cautious About

Has your brand been third-party tested? You should never buy supplements that don’t have Certificate of Analysis. The studies should be conducted in labs that are not affiliated with the manufacturer. These labs verify the product for safety and potency.

Does your milk thistle contain cheap synthetic fillers? Some brands add artificial fillers to cut cost to offer cheap products. Some of these cheap fillers we found were titanium dioxide and artificial coloring. You should never purchase cheap products when it comes to supplements.

No return policy or customer service – A reputable supplement company will offer 100% money-back guarantee policy and provide customer support through phone number and email. We noticed many formulas out there are just copies of the top-rated brands. They don’t offer an easy refund policy or don’t even have a phone number to prove they are real.

Top 5 Milk Thistle Supplements

The result: we reviewed over 100+ brands of Milk Thistle Supplements in the market and complied a list of top 5 formulas based on effectiveness, safety, pricing, return policy, and overall customer satisfaction.

1. PureNature Liver Aid

  • Shipping & Return Policy 100% 100%
  • Customer Service 98% 98%
  • Essential Ingredients 100% 100%
  • Effectiveness 99% 99%

Note: we test purchased this product. We can confirm on-time delivery, reliability and quality product from this brand.

*Individual Results May Vary – Ratings are based on Society Health Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. We encourage consumers to research by visiting each product websites for more information.

2. Thorne Liver Cleanse

  • Shipping & Return Policy 98% 98%
  • Customer Service 96% 96%
  • Essential Ingredients 95% 95%
  • Effectiveness 97% 97%

Note: we test purchased this product. We can confirm on-time delivery, reliability and quality product from this brand.

*Individual Results May Vary – Ratings are based on Society Health Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. We encourage consumers to research by visiting each product websites for more information.

3. Solgar Desiccated Liver

  • Shipping & Return Policy 97% 97%
  • Customer Service 96% 96%
  • Essential Ingredients 94% 94%
  • Effectiveness 96% 96%

Note: we test purchased this product. We can confirm on-time delivery, reliability and quality product from this brand.

*Individual Results May Vary – Ratings are based on Society Health Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. We encourage consumers to research by visiting each product websites for more information.

4. Himayala LiverCare

  • Shipping & Return Policy 95% 95%
  • Customer Service 95% 95%
  • Essential Ingredients 96% 96%
  • Effectiveness 94% 94%

Note: we test purchased this product. We can confirm on-time delivery, reliability and quality product from this brand.

*Individual Results May Vary – Ratings are based on Society Health Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. We encourage consumers to research by visiting each product websites for more information.

5. Gaia Herbs Liver Health

  • Shipping & Return Policy 94% 94%
  • Customer Service 96% 96%
  • Essential Ingredients 95% 95%
  • Effectiveness 94% 94%

Note: we test purchased this product. We can confirm on-time delivery, reliability and quality product from this brand.

*Individual Results May Vary – Ratings are based on Society Health Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. We encourage consumers to research by visiting each product websites for more information.

Ranking Factors

Shipping & Return Policy: we check the shipping and return policy of each recommended product to make sure these brands stand behind their products.

Customer Service: we contact the top rated brands through email, chat or phone to make sure they are responsive and can answer potential questions customers might have.

Essential Ingredients: we verify the ingredients in every top rated brands, their safety and dosage amount in comparison with the latest scientific studies.

Overall Effectiveness: we check with real customers through their reviews and testimonials to make sure the top brands are as effective as they claim to be. We recommend the top 5 formulas based on their average score.

We highly recommend our reader to do their own research, read real reviews and contact any brands directly to make sure they can provide the products and services based on their needs.

1. PureNature Liver Aid

  • Shipping & Return Policy 100% 100%
  • Customer Service 98% 98%
  • Essential Ingredients 100% 100%
  • Effectiveness 99% 99%

*This is a subjective assessment based on the strength of the available information and our independent research and customer feedback. Results may vary based on individual.

Disclosure of Material Connection: we only recommend products and services which we believe will add value to the users. However, you should assume the owner of this website and/or blog has an affiliate relationship and/or another material connection, to any suppliers of goods and services that may be discussed here and may be compensated for showing ads or recommending products or services or linking to the supplier’s website.

Sources and Citations

1. Milk Thistle https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548817/
2. Milk Thistle… https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/milk-thistle
3. “Silymarin”, a Promising… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586829/
4. Silymarin as Supportive… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7140758/
5. Silymarin Inhibits Cytokine-Stimulated… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4131525/
6. The efficacy of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) in the… https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17072885/
7. Antiosteoclastic activity of milk thistle extract… https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23781510/
8. Skin Protective Activity of Silymarin… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6470681/