Does Milk Thistle Help With Hangovers? (The Science)

Does Milk Thistle Help With Hangovers

Milk thistle has long been used as a mild herbal tonic for liver and kidney health. But does milk thistle help with hangovers?

Although it is traditionally sold as a tea or in capsule form, there are many supplement users who believe it may be helpful with hangovers.

With all the milk thistle claims and products for hangovers, this one worth exploring.

Today, we will clear that up for you and dive into the science behind this flowering herb, and if milk thistles really helps with a hangover.

What Is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle has been used for centuries, and a long history of folk remedies used for many ailments including to treat liver and gallbladder problems. Dating back to ancient Greece, where Milk Thistle was first considered useful for treating liver ailments.

Milk thistle, scientifically known as Silybum Marianum, is the flowering herb of a tall biennial plant that is native to Mediterranean. It's called "milk thistle" because the veins on the leaves put out a milky white sap. Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, Milk Thistle is now naturalized in many regions worldwide.

The active ingredients in milk thistle provide many health benefits and is popularly used as a liver aid supplement. Milk thistle benefits include:

  • anti-inflammatory effects
  • liver protection
  • age-related brain function
  • bone protection
  • breast milk production
  • acne issues
  • lower blood sugar levels
  • and more

Does Milk Thistle Help With Hangovers?

If you’ve ever wondered if milk thistle is good for hangovers, then this is the article for you. There's many vitamins to prevent hangover, but is this one of them?

It has been said to be used throughout history to protect the liver and treat liver disease. Milk thistle is definitely considered one of the biggest natural hangover remedies out there.

Milk Thistle contains chemicals that may repair damage done to the liver by alcohol, chemicals or poisons which can lower levels of glutathione, an enzyme that fights toxins in the body.

The milk thistle plant contains antioxidants that may help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Milk thistle also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to calm inflammation in the stomach and other areas of the body caused by alcohol.

There is no concrete evidence to support the claim that milk thistle can cure hangovers, however, many people swear by its ability to help the liver detox when drinking alcohol.

Next, we review what science is behind Milk Thistle for help the liver with alcohol and if any related to helping hangovers.

The Science Behind Milk Thistle and Hangovers

In the studies we found, Milk Thistle has a lot of research in regards to the liver protection and its hepatoprotective nature, although you'll be hard pressed to find any research directly related to helping or treating a hangover.

The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, which is extracted from the plant's seeds. Silymarin is a powerful antioxidant that protects the liver from toxins and alcohol.

Here's 5 benefits of Milk Thistle or Silymarin shown in research for either liver, alcohol or hangovers:

1. Silymarin helps increase the amount of glutathione in the liver and may also help protect the liver from damage by antioxidants with its hepatoprotective benefits.³

2.The study found treating cirrhotic alcoholism, a form of liver disease, with silymarin had a slightly higher survival rate than those who were not treated.³

3. The Second University of Naples showed that the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antifibrotic power of milk thistle makes it useful for treating chronic liver diseases.⁴

4. Silymarin may help to prevent alcohol from activating inflammatory signals.⁴

5. As an antioxidant, silymarin helps protect the liver from free radical damage caused by alcohol metabolism, according to a study in Mexico.³

Although milk thistle is shown to have these various benefits, most, if not all are in regards to protecting the liver from alcohol and helping inflammation with alcohol consumption. 

It does not necessarily help to prevent a hangover, although, definitely seems to help your body in many ways to process alcohol better.

How To Take Milk Thistle For Hangovers?

Due to the science on liver protection, reducing inflammation, and increasing antioxidant damage of the liver, it's best to take milk thistle before drinking or before bed.

While certainly not a hangover cure, by taking milk thistle pills, tablets or teas before going to bed, you'll help your body fight the negative effects of alcohol on the liver for a chance at feeling better in the morning.

THE VERDICT: Does Milk Thistle Help With Hangovers?

There is not good evidence that milk thistle helps with a hangover or a specific study to point to it reducing hangover symptoms. 

However, a large amount of research points to its liver protecting benefits with alcohol consumption. So one might assume that milk thistle may have some mild benefits to help prevent hangovers and detoxify alcohol better.

Want to use a liver aid supplement to super-charge your body's protection? Try Zaca's chewables today!











1. Milk thistle for hangover: does it work?
2. 7 Science-Based Benefits of Milk Thistle
3. Hepatoprotective effect of silymarin
4. Silymarin/Silybin and Chronic Liver Disease: A Marriage of Many Years
5. Can Milk Thistle Prevent or Cure Hangovers?