Milk Thistle - Herbs for Dogs and Cats

Milk Thistle Herb for Dogs and Cats

★ 2 min read

In this article
  1. Milk Thistle
  2. Health Benefits
  3. Cautions
  4. Side Effects
  5. Drug Interactions
  6. General Guideline for Daily Herbal Intake

1.0 Milk Thistle  

Also known by the name: Carduus marianus, Silybum mariamum, Silybum, Silybin, Silymarin, Silymarine, St. Mary’s Thistle, Marianus, Marianum, Our Lady’s Thistle, etc.

Milk thistle is an herbal plant that is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean regions – today it can be found growing wild in many places around the world including North America. 
 
Milk thistle seed has been used in traditional herbal medicine for thousands of years – its recorded use dates back to the 1st century. Over the centuries milk thistle was used for many ailments including disorders of the liver, kidney, spleen.

Medicinal Properties in Milk Thistle Seed
 
The milk thistle plant seed contains a compound known as silymarin. 
 
Silymarin is a flavanol compound, and a powerful antioxidant that:
  1. Protects the liver from damage due to oxidization
  2. Blocks liver damaging (hepatotoxic) substances from crossing cell membranes.
  3. Stimulates liver cell regeneration
  4. Helps protect the immune system and metabolic function
Milk Thistle seed can be used in various forms:
 
Capsules
Ground seeds (powder)
Extract
Tea
Tincture
For best results use organic milk thistle seed products.

2.0 Health Benefits

Partial list:
  • Allergies – seasonal (allergic rhinitis)
  • Anti-inflammatory (liver, allergies)
  • Appetite loss
  • Cancer – breast, cervical, prostate
  • Depression
  • Detoxification of the liver
  • Diseases of the spleen
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Heartburn
  • Improving liver function
  • Liver disorders
    • Cirrhosis of the liver
    • Chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation)
    • Chronic inflammatory liver disease
    • Damage caused by chemicals

3.0 Cautions

If your dog or cat:
  • Is pregnant or lactating do not use milk thistle
  • Is allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family (i.e. arnica, daisies, marigolds, etc.)

4.0 Side Effects

In some individuals may cause:
  • Appetite loss
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Intestinal gas
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

5.0 Drug Interactions

  • Anticoagulant, Anti-platelet drugs
  • Estrogen
  • Medications that are changed or broken down by the liver

6.0 General Dosing Guideline

Click on the chart below to zoom-in:

Milk Thistle herb dosage for dogs and cats


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Affiliations to Companies
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✓ I don't sell food or supplements.
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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld


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