Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle


Results from clinical trials of milk thistle for liver diseases have been conflicting or haven’t been clinically meaningful. Some of the studies have been of poor quality, too.

Although some studies have shown positive results for people with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, the overall research does not show a benefit.

A small number of studies have suggested that the extract might be beneficial for diabetes, but the conclusions about its effectiveness are not definite.

It’s not known whether it is helpful for other conditions.

Side Effects Of Milk Thistle

In clinical trials, the milk thistle appears to be well-tolerated in recommended doses. Occasionally, people report various digestive side effects.

Milk thistle may produce allergic reactions, which tend to be more common among people who are allergic to plants in the same family (for example, ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, and daisy).

It may lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes should use caution.

Little is known about whether it’s safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.


Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.