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Old 10-02-2014, 02:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Milk Thistle - Blog Post

There are several herbs used to detoxify the body, but the one most herbalists recommend is Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).


Our pets are exposed to toxins daily, in the water they drink, the air they breathe, even in the ground they walk on. We can try our best to limit our beloved pets' exposure to toxins, but we can't keep them in a bubble. Milk Thistle, however, is one powerful herb that can play a vital role in our pets' health.


The medicinal power of Milk Thistle has been known for more than 2000 years. Dioscorides, a Greek physician who served in the Roman army, recommended it as a treatment for serpent bites. It was also used in the Middle Ages to treat the Bubonic Plague.


Native to the Mediterranean, it has been naturalized in Europe and other parts of the world. In some areas it's even considered a garden weed and an invasive species. That's one weed we would gladly have in our garden!


The active ingredient in Milk Thistle is silymarin which is an antioxidant extracted from the seeds. Silymarin protects the liver from chemical toxins by blocking toxins from entering the cells and by moving toxins out before they can do damage. It also stimulates new cell reproduction.


Milk Thistle can be used for dogs,cats, rodents, horses, ferrets and goats, and is considered a hepatoprotective which means it protects the liver. Many pet guardians give Milk Thistle to their pets for a week after exposure to chemicals and medications such as vaccinations and monthly heartworm and flea/tick medications. It has also been used to aid with parvovirus, hepatitis, liver and kidney damage, leptospirosis and jaundice.


The drug Denamarin is a drug commonly used by Veterinarians to treat pets with liver issues. Denamarin actually contains a chemically altered form of silymarin along with other ingredients. So if it works well in its natural form why change it!


Along with liver disease and as a detox, Milk Thistle is often used by holistic veterinarians to treat


  • Pancreatitis
  • Allergies
  • Epilepsy – to protect the liver from long term use of Phenobarbatol
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Skin disorders secondary to liver disease
  • Disease of the Gallbladder


Although it is considered a safe herb, most experts agree Milk Thistle should be used as a detox after exposure to toxins or for the treatment of a specific disease or condition rather than as a preventative. According to Gregory Tilford and Mary Wulff-Tilford, authors of the classic Herbs for Pets “milk thistle is a medicine that is best reserved for situations where the liver is under abnormal stress”.


Milk Thistle seed comes in various forms. You can purchase it in its natural seed form, capsules, powder or tincture. The standardized extract most commonly is 70-80% silymarin. Make sure to read the labels. Each should list the percentage of silymarin. As always, purchase certified organic Milk Thistle from a reputable source to ensure there are no unwanted pesticides or chemicals.
The dosage depends on the form.
  • Powdered form 2-5mg per 1 pound of body weight 2-3 times per day.
  • The tincture 1-2 drops per pound of body weight twice daily with food.
  • Capsules 75mg – 100mg per 10 pounds of body weight per day.
  • Natural Seeds sprinkle a pinch on your pet's food daily.


Remember, tinctures that are alcohol based might not be wise to give to a pet with liver disease. Most people find capsules the easiest. Carefully open the capsule and sprinkle the contents on your pet's food. Always consult with your veterinarian about the right dosage for your pet.
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