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Home > Health Library > Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a plant that contains silymarin, a substance that some people take to help with liver function, diabetes, indigestion, and other conditions. It has been widely used in Europe, where it is a common complementary treatment for liver problems such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. In the United States, it is sold as a dietary supplement.
There isn't clear evidence from science that taking milk thistle as a dietary supplement helps with liver problems, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and inflammation of the bile ducts (cholangitis).
Milk thistle may cause nausea, diarrhea, bloating, pain, or allergies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.
Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:
Current as of:
March 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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