Milk Thistle

Silybum marianum

Milk thistle

Other Names:

Mary Thistle, Holy Thistle, Lady's Thistle, Legalon, Marian Thistle, Mariendistel


  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antitumor
  • Heptoprotective
  • Kidney-protection
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a flowering herb known for its important medicinal properties. Mediterranean region. It has been used for thousands of years as a herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly for the liver. The main chemical component in milk thistle is silymarin, a group of flavonoids (silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin), which are thought to help repair and protect liver cells. Silymarin is extracted from the seeds, which contain 70 to 80%. Specific applications relating to poultry include:
  • Protection from mycotoxins: Numerous studies conducted on chickens have demonstrated that milkthistle helps to protect birds against the negative effects of aflatoxin B1 and possibly ochratoxin A (OTA).

Poultry Specific Studies

TypePlant PartDosageSpecific useResultsRef
Hens200-400 mg/kg of dietantioxidantImproved, even not significantly, egg laying rate (+2.91%), feed conversion rate (-4.52%) and dry matter content (+0.54%). Moreover, it induced a significant increase (P<0.05) in total lipids (+0.72%) and total sterols levels (+0.02%) of the eggs. Any significant difference in eggs quality was found for Silymarin at the highest dose (400 mg/kg of feed).A Quarantelli et al., 2009
Chickensseed extract0.5-1% dietantioxidant, aflatoxicosiscan provide protection against the negative effects of aflatoxins in poultry feed. H Amiridumari et al., 2013
Hens400 mg/kg of feedinhibited steroidogenesisS Romanelli et al., 2016
Chickensliver protectionsilymarin is able to moderate the immune system, by boosting IL-4, IFN-?, and IL-10. The hepatoprotective effect of silymarin in poultry farming is poorly understood, although it may be used as a cheap, non-toxic and safe feed additive to manage liver related disorders and to replace synthetic drugs in poultry diets.M Saeed et al., 2017
Broilers1 to 100 mL/Kg of dietliver protectionhas potential to alleviate the adverse effects of oxidative stressA Baradaran et al., 2019
Broilers0.5%/kg feedMinimized the adverse effects of toxins contaminated feed on the performance of broilers.M Abdulwahid et al., 2021
Ducks600 mg/kg of dietliver protection, aflatoxicosisCan be used to reverse the harmful effects of aflatoxins on hepatic and kidney tissue.S El-Sheshtawy et al., 2021
Chickens50-75 mg/kg PO q12hantioxidantClinical Veterinary Advisor
Broilersextractup to 2.0 mg/kg body weightblood parametersincreased the number of red blood cells, hemoglobin, white blood cells in the blood, as well as a decrease in the level of albumin and an increase in the content of ?-globulins in its serum.O Bagno et al., 2021