Does Milk Thistle Help With Hangovers?

Does Milk Thistle Help With Hangovers?

Hangovers are common for those who drink alcohol, causing headaches, nausea, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms. People have searched for remedies, including Milk Thistle, to relieve these symptoms.

This natural herb, used for centuries in Europe, is believed to offer health benefits and is touted as a "hangover therapy." But what does science say about "Does Milk Thistle help with hangovers?" Let's explore the research and find out.


Does Milk Thistle Help with Hangovers?

Milk Thistle is an effective remedy for addressing and preventing alcohol-related liver diseases

Excessive alcohol consumption can have a detrimental effect on the liver, leading to the formation of liver toxins and resulting in hangovers.

Silymarin, derived from Milk Thistle, acts as a heat protectant, guarding against the toxins caused by overindulgence in drinking.

It is an effective remedy for addressing and preventing alcohol-related liver diseases.[1]

How Does Milk Thistle Help with Hangovers?

The exact mechanism by which Milk Thistle might help with hangovers has yet to be fully understood and remains an active area of research. However, here are some potential ways it could theoretically help:

Liver protection

The main active compound in Milk Thistle is silymarin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

These properties help protect liver cells from the damaging effects of alcohol metabolites, potentially reducing hangover symptoms like nausea and fatigue.[2]

Inflammation reduction

Hangovers involve inflammation throughout the body, including the brain and blood vessels.

Milk Thistle seed and its active extract, silymarin, have anti-inflammatory properties due to excellent antioxidant properties, scavenging free radicals acting as pro-inflammatory agents [3], and alleviating hangover symptoms like headaches and muscle aches.

Immune system modulation

Consuming alcohol can weaken the immune system, increasing vulnerability to infections and causing fatigue during hangovers.

To handle this, Silymarin has been shown to effectively suppress inflammatory mediators and nerve cell damage, thereby enhancing immunity and potentially mitigating these effects. [3]

Detoxification support

Silymarin is an excellent antioxidant, scavenging free radicals (reactive oxygen species) and inhibiting lipid peroxidation, thereby protecting cells against oxidative stress.[3]

While silymarin doesn't directly detoxify alcohol, it might support certain livers in breaking down alcohol metabolites.

This could potentially accelerate the removal of these harmful substances from your body, contributing to faster recovery.

How to Take Milk Thistle for Hangovers?

How To Take Milk Thistle For Hangovers?

Here are some common methods:

  • Capsules: Take about 420 milligrams of Milk Thistle extract, standardized to contain 70-80% silymarin, twice or thrice daily.[2]
  • Tea: Steep 1-2 teaspoons of crushed Milk Thistle seeds in hot water for 10-20 minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.

Can You Combine Vitamin B12 And Milk Thistle for Hangovers?

Can You Combine Vitamin B12 And Milk Thistle For Hangovers?

Furthermore, some individuals may wonder about combining Milk Thistle with vitamin B12, as the latter is believed to alleviate hangovers.

While some people have reported vitamin B12 for its potential to alleviate hangovers by aiding in the detoxification process, no interactions were found between high B complex and Milk Thistle.

However, research or user reports regarding their combined use are lacking.
It's important to note that Milk Thistle may interact with certain medications, including allergy drugs, blood thinners, and diabetes medication. If you're considering taking Milk Thistle, talk to your doctor first.

When To Take Milk Thistle for Hangover

If you take Milk Thistle for a potential hangover, the timing can vary based on individual preferences and habits. While there's no specific "right" time to take Milk Thistle for hangovers, here are a few considerations:

Preventive Use

Some individuals take Milk Thistle as a preventive measure before consuming alcohol. This may involve taking a dose before going out for the evening or before a social event where alcohol will be consumed.

The idea is to provide potential liver support before the toxic effects of alcohol are experienced.

During Alcohol Consumption

Others may choose to take Milk Thistle for hangovers while consuming alcohol, either before, during, or after drinking.

Dividing the recommended daily dose into smaller portions and taking them at intervals throughout the drinking session is one approach.

After Alcohol Consumption

Some individuals prefer to take Milk Thistle after alcohol consumption or before going to bed to support the liver during the post-alcohol metabolism phase.

This approach aims to provide potential liver support when the body is processing alcohol and its byproducts.

Next Morning

Taking Milk Thistle for hangovers in the morning after heavy drinking is another option.

This approach is based on providing liver support as the body processes alcohol metabolites.

Consistent Daily Use

For individuals who consume alcohol regularly, some may choose to take Milk Thistle on a consistent daily basis, regardless of specific drinking occasions.

Other Ways to Help with Hangovers

Other Ways to Help With Hangovers

Moreover, several strategies may help alleviate hangover symptoms or prevent them from occurring. If you do find yourself with a hangover, here are some tips that may help:

  • Hydration
  • Fuel Up
  • Relaxation
  • Ginger
  • Fresh Air Therapy


While the science behind Milk Thistle's effectiveness in treating hangovers is still being studied, its hepatoprotective properties and potential to alleviate symptoms like nausea and fatigue make it a compelling option.

However, it's important to note that Milk Thistle is not a cure-all and should be used alongside responsible drinking habits and overall good health practices.

That's why the answer to the question: "Does Milk Thistle help with hangovers?" isn't 100%, though it has potential.

Consulting a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, including Milk Thistle, is always advisable.

Remember, hangovers are a sign that you may have overdone it - the best way to avoid them is to consume alcohol moderately and responsibly.


[1] Payal A. Chandurkar. HERBAL REMEDIES of ALCOHOL ADDICTION, 14 May 2019,
[2] “Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum) for the Therapy of Liver Disease.” The American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 93, no. 2, 2021, pp. 139–143,,
[3] ---. “Phytotherapeutic Properties of Milk Thistle Seeds: An Overview.” Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research, vol. 1, 2011, pp. 69–79,
[4] “High B Complex and Milk Thistle Interactions.”,
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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