Silybum marianum: Beyond Hepatoprotection

J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2015 Oct;20(4):292-301. doi: 10.1177/2156587215571116. Epub 2015 Feb 16.


Silybum marianum is a medicinal plant that has long been used as hepatoprotective remedy. It has been used for the treatment of numerous liver disorders characterized by functional impairment or degenerative necrosis. Its hepatoprotective activity is unique and acts in different ways, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, cell permeability regulator and membrane stabilizer, stimulation of liver regeneration and inhibition of deposition in collagen fibers, which may lead to cirrhosis. Most of documented data with Silybum marianum are about liver disorders; however, recently several beneficial properties on a wide variety of other disorders such as renal protection, hypolipidemic and anti-atherosclerosis activities, cardiovascular protection, prevention of insulin resistance, especially in cirrhotic patients, cancer, and Alzheimer prevention. It is also used as a food remedy. This review article aims to present different aspects of Silybum marianum, especially the data in recently published articles about its effects on different diseases, apart from presenting the aspects of its hepatoprotection.

Keywords: Silybum marianum; Silymarin; antioxidant; hepatoprotective remedy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / immunology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Liver Diseases / immunology
  • Liver Diseases / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Protective Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Silymarin / chemistry*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Protective Agents
  • Silymarin