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Is Milk Thistle Effective?

Early studies have shown that milk thistle may be useful for treating type 2 diabetes, heartburn, and indigestion (although more research is necessary to confirm these findings). It is not clear if it is effective for other uses, including liver diseases (see Does Milk Thistle Work? for more information).
 

Dosing Information

There is no established standard milk thistle dosage, although general guidelines may be obtained from the clinical studies that evaluated certain uses of the supplement.
 
(Click Milk Thistle Dosage for more information.)
 

Side Effects

People often assume that natural products are free of side effects. However, this is not usually the case. Some of the reported side effects of milk thistle include:
 
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite.
     
(Click Milk Thistle Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 

Drug Interactions

Theoretically, milk thistle may interact with other medications or supplements (see Milk Thistle Drug Interactions).
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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