Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.

Nota de alcance

DIVERSIDAD GENÉTICA Y MEJORAMIENTO DE PLANTAS MEDICINALES= Medicinal plants and improvement of medicinal herbs

The structure of the ribosomal DNA has been analyzed in three species of the Cynareae tribe using Southern blot hybridization. Silybum marianum possesses two types of ribosomal genes 12.3 and 13.4 kb long;Cirsium vulgare has at least four types of rDNA repeats 10.6, 10.5, 11.7 and 11.9 kb long;Carlina acaulis only one type of ribosomal genes 9.7 kb long. The rRNA genes of the three species studied showed an identical restriction mapping in the 18 S and 25 S regions. However species differentiation in length and/or nucleotide sequences are present in the external spacer and very probably in the internal transcribed spacer. By cytophotometric studies and by in vitro rRNA/DNA filter hybridization, the DNA amount/4 C nucleus and the rDNA percentage were calculated in nine species of the Cynareae tribe:Cynara cardunculus subsp. scolymus (artichoke), Cynara cardunculus subsp. cardunculus (wild artichoke), Onopordon acanthium, O. illyricum, Galactites tomentosa, Carduus nutans, Silybum marianum, Cirsium vulgare and Carlina acaulis. The DNA amount/4 C nucleus in eight species are similar, ranging from 4.24 pg in Galactites tomentosa to 5.96 pg in Cirsium vulgare, while Carlina acaulis has a DNA amount/ 4C nucleus of 11.8 pg. The rDNA percentages range from 0.192% in Onopordon acanthium to 1.022% in Silybum marianum, while Carlina acaulis has 0.038% of rDNA. This latter species is clearly distinct within the Cynareae tribe. © 1988 Springer-Verlag. 

Nota de alcance

ÚLTIMOS AVANCES EN LA QUÍMICA Y ACTIVIDADES BACTERIOLÓGICAS EN LAS PLANTAS MEDICINALES= Medicinal plants, last advances on chemistry and bacteria activities on the medicinal herbs

1) Seeds of Silybum marianum have been used to treat liver diseases.  Active component of these seeds is silymarin.  Hairy root cultures of S. marianum could be able to produce silymarin.  There is evidence that the use of elicitors has been an important strategy for improving the prodn. of secondary metabolite.  Elicitation is interesting to investigate cell signaling pathway in secondary metabolite biosynthesis.  Lipoxiganase is an important enzyme in octadecanoid pathway to the biosynthesis of jasmonic acid.  The most research results have been shown the relationship between elicitors and jasmonic acid signaling pathways.  For this we examd. silymarin accumulation, linoleic acid content and lopoxigenas activity in hairy roots of S. marianum induced through the use of an abiotic elicitor, Ag+.  Hairy root cultures of S. marianum were feeding by different concn. of Ag+ (0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 1 and 2 mM) and harvested 72h after elicitation.  Detection and identification of flavonolignans was carried out by high performance liq. chromatograph method.  The highest content of silymarin was 0.56 mg g-1 DW that was obtained with 2 mM of Ag+ that was 2 times of non-treated hairy roots.  Then hairy roots were treated with 2 mM Ag+ for different times (0, 24, 48, 72, 96 and 120 h).  The highest silymarin prodn. reached to 1.2 mg g-1 DW, 96h after elicitation.  The content of silybin, isosilybin, taxifolin, silycristin and silydianin were 0.069, 0.031, 0.688, 0.388 and 0.024 mg g-1 DW, resp.  The max. lipoxigenase activity was obtained 72h after elicitation that was 4.33 times of non-treated hairy roots.  Linoleic acid content was 19.9 mg g-1 DW, 96h after elicitation.  Dry wt. of treated hairy roots decreased, as compared to non-treated hairy roots.  It is feasible that elicitation with Ag+ changes lipoxigenase activity that medial signal transduction pathway for prodn. of silymarin.

2) Silymarin, an ext. from milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and its purified flavonolignans have been recently shown to inhibit hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, both in vitro and in vivo.  In the current study, we further characterized silymarin's antiviral actions.  Silymarin had antiviral effects against hepatitis C virus cell culture (HCVcc) infection that included inhibition of virus entry, RNA and protein expression, and infectious virus prodn.  Silymarin did not block HCVcc binding to cells but inhibited the entry of several viral pseudoparticles (pp), and fusion of HCVpp with liposomes.  Silymarin but not silibinin inhibited genotype 2a NS5B RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity at concns. 5 to 10 times higher than required for anti-HCVcc effects.  Furthermore, silymarin had inefficient activity on the genotype 1b BK and four 1b RDRPs derived from HCV-infected patients.  Moreover, silymarin did not inhibit HCV replication in five independent genotype 1a, 1b, and 2a replicon cell lines that did not produce infectious virus.  Silymarin inhibited microsomal triglyceride transfer protein activity, apolipoprotein B secretion, and infectious virion prodn. into culture supernatants.  Silymarin also blocked cell-to-cell spread of virus.  Conclusion: Although inhibition of in vitro NS5B polymerase activity is demonstrable, the mechanisms of silymarin's antiviral action appear to include blocking of virus entry and transmission, possibly by targeting the host cell.

3) Silymarin, a flavonolignan complex isolated from Silybum marianum, has a strong antioxidant, hepatoprotective, and iron chelating activities.  The present study was designed to investigate the therapeutic activity of orally administered silymarin in patients with thalassemia major under conventional iron chelation therapy.  A 3-mo randomized, double-blind, clin. trial was conducted in 59 beta-thalassemia major patients in two well-matched groups.  Patients were randomized to receive a silymarin tablet (140 mg) three times a day plus conventional desferrioxamine therapy.  The second group received the same therapy but a placebo tablet instead of silymarin.  Clin. lab. tests were assessed at the beginning and the end of the trial, except for serum ferritin level that was assessed at the middle of the trial as well.  Results of this study revealed that the combined therapy was well tolerated and more effective than desferrioxamine in reducing serum ferritin level.  Significant improvement in liver alk. phosphatase and glutathione levels of red blood cells was also obsd. in silymarin-treated beta-thalassemia patients.  However, no significant difference in serum ferritin levels was detected between silymarin and placebo groups after 1.5 and 3 mo treatment, probably because of insufficient sample size to detect subtle changes in ferritin levels between groups.  This is the first report showing the beneficial effects of silymarin in thalassemia patients and suggests that silymarin in combination with desferrioxamine can be safely and effectively used in the treatment of iron-loaded patients.

Nota de alcance

PARTE UTILIZADA= Used part: Planta entera.

ACCIÓN FARMACOLÓGICA= Pharmacological action: Estomacales, aperitivos, sudoríficos, febrífugos, hemostáticos y antipleuríticos, también en las afecciones del hígado, en los cálculos, en la ictericia. 

COMPOSICIÓN QUÍMICA= Chemical composition: El fruto del cardo mariano contiene silimarina (1,5-3%), una mezcla de diversos flavanolignanos que se encuentra especialmente en el tegumento. Los principales componentes de la mezcla son: silibina (=silibinina), silicristina y silidianina. También se encuentran los 3-desoxiderivados de la silidianina (denominado silimonina) y de la silicristina, así como isosilicristina, isosilibina y su 3-desoxiderivado silandrina, los 3-desoxiderivados silihermina, neosiliherminas A y B, 2,3-dehidrosilibina y los tritetra- y pentámeros de la silibina (silibinómeros), Flavonoides: taxifolina, quercetina, dihidrokemferol, kemferol, apigenina, naringina y otros. Otros componentes de la droga son: aceite graso (20-30%), con una elevada proporción de ácido linoleico (60%), ácido oleico (30%) y ácido palmítico (9%) en sus triglicéridos; tocoferol (0,04%); esteroles (0,6%), como colesterol, campesterol, estigmasterol y sitosterol; proteínas (25-30%) y trazas de mucílago. 

ZONA GEOGRÁFICA= Geografical zone: Uruguay. 


Distribución: Regiones Coquimbo, Valparaiso, Metropolitana de Santiago, O’Higgins, Maule, Nuble, Biobio, Araucania, Los Rios, Los Lagos, Aysen, Magallanes. Archipielago Juan Fernandez.

Usos medicinales: El jugo se usa para combatir afecciones hepaticas y para curar heridas. La decoccion de la corteza se usa como tonico. La infusion de tallos o raices secas, se bebe caliente como antidiarreico o para mitigar malestares del colon irritable.


Droga: frutos seco.

Acción hepato-desintoxicante, regenerador de la célula hepética, coleréica y colagoga, tónico cardíaco y algo hipotensor. Digestiva, venotónica, diurética y antipirética.

Nota de alcance (en)


Western Himalayas at 1,800 and Kashmir at 2,400 m, also grown in gardens.


Seeds—liver protective, gallbladder protective, antioxidant. Used in jaundice and other biliary affections, intermittent fevers, uterine trouble, also as a galactagogue. Alcoholic extract used for haemorrhoids and as a general substitute for adrenaline. Seeds are used for controlling haemorrhages.

Leaves—sudorific and aperient. Young leaves and flowering heads are consumed by diabetics.

Nota bibliográfica

1) GONZALEZ, Matías ; LOMBARDO, Atilio ; VALLARINO, Aida. Plantas de la medicina vulgar del Uruguay. Montevideo : Talleres Gráficos, 1937.

2) Fitoterapia : vademecum de prescripcion: plantas medicinales. 3ª. ed. Barcelona : Masson, 1999, 1039p.

3) MAGGINI, F.; TUCCI, G.F.; GELATI, M.T. Ribosomal RNA genes in species of the Cynareae tribe (Compositae). II. Protoplasma . 1988, Vol.144, nº2-3, p.125-131.
4) KHALILI, Masoumeh; et al. Ag+ enhanced silymarin production in hairy root cultures of Silybum marianum (L.) Greatn.   Plant. Omics . 2010,vol.3, nº4, p.109-114.
5) WAGONER, Jessica;et al. Multiple effects of silymarin on the hepatitis C virus lifecycle. Hepatology (Hoboken, NJ, United States) . 2010, vol.51, nº6, p.1912-1921.
6) GHARAGOZLOO, Marjan; et al. Combined therapy of silymarin and desferrioxamine in patients with b -thalassemia major: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology . 2009, Vol.23, nº3, p.359-365.

7) ALONSO, Jorge R. Tratado de fitomedicina : bases clínicas y farmacológicas. Buenos Aires : ISIS, 1998, p. 342.

8) Plantas silvestres comestibles y medicinales de Chile y otras partes del mundo/Cordero R., Sebastián; Abella A., Lucía; Galvez L. Francisca; Corporación chilena de la madera: Concepción, 2017 . -- 292 p.

9) Linares Gimeno, Nuria/ Plantas Medicinales: cuaderno de trabajo. UPA: Madrid, 2013. p . - 67

10) Khare, C.P./ Indian Medicinal Plants. -- Nueva Dheli: Springer, 2007 . - p 507.

Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.
Término aceptado: 28-May-2008