Milk thistle can be taken in the powdered form, also as an infusion, a decoction, glycerine extract, and also alcohol extract, with the alcohol extract being the strongest.
In the powdered form a dosage of two to four grams three times per day is normal.For the infusion use one teaspoonful of the powdered herb to 150 ml of boiling distilled water left to infuse for ten minutes and drink this three times per day.For the decoction use three teaspoonfuls of the seeds to half a pint of distilled water and simmer for about twenty minutes, drink this three times per day.In the case of the glycerine and alcohol extract take 2.5 mls three times per day.In the case of poisoning where there is need to act quickly take 1:1 liquid extract at doses of 10 mls three or more times per day.
Milk thistle has been widely used throughout Europe for a long time as a digestive tonic and as a stimulant to help the milk flow in nursing mothers.David Hoffmann writes, "as the name of this herb shows, it is an excellent of milk secretion and is perfectly safe to be used by all breastfeeding mothers." (33).
This once popular remedy has now a new identity as a remedy for real or perceived liver disorders.This remedy has been introduced into the dispensary of the Herbalist for its use as a liver remedy through the results of laboratory and clinical studies.Simon Mills referring tothe Milk thistle comments, "It finds a place in many prescriptions where burdens on the liver are seen to be a dominant feature in the condition treated, especially in the aftermath of a drug-abuse problem, alcoholism or long-term treatment by conventional medicinal drugs ..." (34).
Milk thistle is also used to increase the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder and in that respect can be used in all problems related to the gallbladder.It was once used in Germany as a popular remedy for curing jaundice and biliary problems.Its action is gentle and protective and can be used in cases because of this where bitter herbs are contra-indicated or it can act as a buffer to their effect.It is in this light that it is used in the treatment of hepatitis A, B and C, cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol abuse and also toxic poisoning as in the case of Death cap mushroom.
It also has the effect of lowering fat levels in the blood, which has been shown by research.We can also assume that because Milk thistle has an effect on the liver in cleansing and regenerating the liver tissue, it will have an effect on lowering blood cholesterol in the liver.Simon Mills writes, "As the liver is the organ most involved in affecting such levels after the effects of diet and exercise are taken into account, then the connection may not be too tenuous."(35).