Milk thistle extract is taken from the seeds of the dried flower of the milk thistle plant. Its principal uses as a dietary supplement were first noticed in Germany several decades ago. Since then, milk thistle extract has been used extensively in Europe in hospitals. In fact, some hospitals in Germany keep milk thistle extract on hand as an emergency treatment. Silymarin is the flavonoid complex from milk thistle (its botanical name is silybum marianum). A wealth of laboratory and clinical research on this herb reveals exciting data about milk thistle extract, but we cannot quote any of it, since to do so would be to make health or disease claims.