MILK THISTLE Uses & Effectiveness What is this?


Possibly Effective for:

Seasonal allergies (allergic rhinitis). Some research shows that people who take a milk thistle extract in combination with a conventional antihistamine have reduced symptoms compared to people who just use an antihistamine.
Heartburn (dyspepsia), when a combination of milk thistle and several other herbs is used. The combination product (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) contains milk thistle plus peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, licorice, clown’s mustard plant, celandine, angelica, and lemon balm. When used daily over a period of 4 weeks, this combination seems to reduce severity of acid reflux, stomach pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting.

Most studies of milk thistle’s effectiveness have used a specific extract standardized to 70{07981971f1c3764ed58617b13b000fc674e9887fcbe42e1ad1f91b55d7189a36} to 80{07981971f1c3764ed58617b13b000fc674e9887fcbe42e1ad1f91b55d7189a36} silymarin. In the U.S., this formulation is found in the brand name product Thisilyn (Nature’s Way).

Insufficient Evidence for:

Liver disease caused by excessive use of alcohol. There is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of milk thistle for treating alcohol-related liver disease.
Amanita mushroom poisoning. Giving silibinin, a chemical found in milk thistle, intravenously (by IV) may lessen liver damage due to Amanita phalloides mushroom (death cap) poisoning. However, it is hard to get silibinin in the U.S.
Hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Milk thistle and some of the chemicals in it do not seem to improve survival or decrease liver function tests in people with hepatitis B or C.
Liver disease caused by chemicals. Some research suggests milk thistle may limit liver damage after exposure to industrial poisons such as toluene and xylene.
Spleen disorders.
Gallbladder problems.
Swelling of the lungs (pleurisy).
Menstrual problems.
Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of milk thistle for these uses.

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