Diabetes Home > Milk Thistle Side Effects

Although milk thistle is a "natural" product, it can still cause side effects. Some of the possible side effects of milk thistle include nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. There are also several side effects that may be more serious and should immediately be reported to your healthcare provider. Some of these serious milk thistle side effects include signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.

An Overview of Milk Thistle Side Effects

Milk thistle is an herbal supplement used for a variety of different conditions. Many people assume that milk thistle is automatically free of side effects because it is a "natural" substance. However, it is reasonable to assume that any natural product with medicinal properties is capable of causing side effects. There as several documented milk thistle side effects.

Possible Side Effects of Milk Thistle

A few clinical studies have reported side effects with milk thistle. These possible side effects included:


    • A rash or hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing.


Make sure to seek immediate medical attention if you think you may be having an allergic reaction to milk thistle.
Unpredictable side effects are also possible due to contaminants in milk thistle products. Because herbs and supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription or non-prescription drugs, they are sometimes contaminated with other herbs, medications, or even heavy metals. In order to avoid such problems, it is important to choose a high-quality supplement from a trustworthy manufacturer.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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