Milk Thistle and Hep C
Some people with hepatitis C (hep C) try taking milk thistle to help deal with their symptoms, relieve side effects from hepatitis C treatment, or because they did not get a response from their medications.
While a few animal studies show that milk thistle may have various benefits to the liver, no scientific studies have found clear-cut evidence that milk thistle helps in treating hep C. Some studies showed a possible a benefit, while other studies did not.
Milk thistle for hep C patients is generally considered safe, since it demonstrated few side effects in clinical trials. However, milk thistle can have a laxative effect and may lead to nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain (stomach pain).
Milk thistle can also produce allergic reactions, which tend to be more common among people who are allergic to plants in the same family (e.g., ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, and daisy).
(Click Milk Thistle and Hepatitis C for more detailed information about a current study on this topic, the possible risks of milk thistle, and other considerations to be aware of.)