Historically, Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used in Europe as a liver tonic and current phytotherapy indicates its use in a whole range of liver and gall bladder conditions, including hepatitis and cirrhosis. A wealth of laboratory and clinical research on this herb is revealing exciting data about reversal of toxic liver damage as well as protection from potential hepatotoxic agents.* These clinical findings highlight a role for milk thistle in the treatment of toxic/metabolic liver disease (including both alcohol- and drug-induced forms), some forms of hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and fatty degeneration of the liver.**
*Vogel, G. “Natural Substances with Effects on the Liver.” In New Natural Products and Plant Drugs with Pharmacological, Biological or Therapeutic Activity, ed. H. Wagner and P. Wolff. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1977.
**Hikino, H.; and Kiso, Y. “Natural Products for Liver Diseases.” In Economic and Medicinal Plant Research, Vol. 2, ed. H. Wagner; H. Hikino; and N. R. Farnsworth. London: Academic Press, 1988.
(Source: www.alternativemedicine.com, “the herbal medicine chest” section.)