Milk thistle is a member of the Asteracea family and widely used as a medicinal plant. Its active compound, silymarin, has hepatoprotective, anticancerogenic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and lactogenic properties. High concentrations of silymarin are found in the seeds of the milk thistle fruit (Valková, 2020).
Extracts from milk thistle fruit can be used as galactogogue and have shown to increase prolactin concentrations in lactating rats (Valková, 2020, Capasso, 2014, Capasso et al., 2009). Clinical trials proved that administration of silymarin could enhance the quantity of milk produced by breastfeeding mothers. While application of a product containing milk thistle and galega also increased the share of breastfeeding mothers compared to a placebo group (Serrao et al., 2018, Di Pierro et al., 2008).
The extracts of milk thistle are generally well tolerated, show only few mild adverse effects and are therefore considered safe (Valková, 2020).