Milk Thistle [Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.] - a Very Useful Plant for People's Health

  • Mihaela Anca COȘERAN
  • Andreea ONA
  • Simona BALAȘ
  • Marcel DUDA
Keywords: fruit production and quality, phytochemical constituents, Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn


Milk thistle, a species mentioned from the time of Greek philosophers, is well known due to one of its constituents, silymarin, and used in the treatment of several liver disorders. Even though the majority of the documentary data on Silybum marianum focuses on its role in liver diseases, more information has recently become available regarding the herb's beneficial effects on a variety of other diseases, including protection for the kidneys, hypolipidemic and anti-atherosclerotic activities, cardiovascular protection, prevention of insulin resistance, particularly in cirrhotic patients, cancer prevention, and Alzheimer's and dementia prevention. Considering the preceding significance, in this paper, we present a synthesis of the knowledge related to the phytochemical constituents of the milk thistle fruits and their pharmaceutical activity, to the origin and spread of the species, to the systematics and cultivated varieties, as well as the influence of the environmental conditions and applied technology on the production and chemical composition of the fruits of these plants.