Adverse Milk Thistle Side Effects and Benefits

The parts of a milk thistle plant, especially its seeds can be used for medicinal purposes. Milk thistle plants are also known as Silybum marianum, St. Mary thistle and lady’s thistle. These plants have been used in western medicine and also in homeopathy medicines. Medicines made from milk thistle are prescribed for patients suffering from problems with their liver, appetite, gallbladder, stomach and even for patients that may have faced mushroom poisoning. Though these are some of the problems cured by milk thistle, not all of its uses have been identified. Other uses of milk thistle have also come up, but these have not been confirmed. It is said that milk thistle is also beneficial to people with cholesterol problems and patients with type 2 diabetes. Some claim that milk thistle can reduce the chances of cancer, and also the rate of the growth of cancer cells. Milk thistle is also claimed to benefit patients suffering from cirrhosis.

Milk thistle extract side effectsThe benefits and risks of taking milk thistle is not clearly defined as of yet. Experts have advised that it is safe to take medicines made of milk thistle, especially the homeopathic medicines, only if they are prescribed by qualified and trustworthy doctors. The medicines should be purchased from reliable sources.


Milk thistle can currently only be consumed by mouth. It can be mixed with a beverage like tea or coffee, or as a tablet with a glass of water. If the milk thistle is being taken to cure allergies, then a dosage of 3 pills of 140 mg per day will do. If milk thistle is being taken for stomach problems, then take 1 ml of the prescribed milk thistle medicine three times a day. Some studies have shown that milk thistle can safely be taken for a period of three years and four months. It is always advisable to consult a doctor before taking the medication and following the dosage prescribed by them. A doctor might recommend taking milk thistle in the form of a pill or as a liquid, depending on the problem. Milk thistle side effects when overdosed have not yet been identified clearly. However, if you have overdosed, it is highly recommended that you immediately consult your doctor.

Severe Milk thistle side effects

All of the milk thistle side effects are not properly known as of yet. However, so far, it has been seen that there are not many or highly serious side effects of it. Since all of the side effects are not properly known, pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should avoid taking milk thistle unless clearly prescribed by their doctor. Women suffering from breast cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer, and women who have endometriosis or fibroid tumours should not take any medication with milk thistle. This is because milk thistle is said to impersonate the traits and results of estrogens. To avoid such milk thistle side effects, women suffering from the stated problems should talk to their doctors before trying out any new medicines.

Other reported side effects also include diarrhea, stomach problems like bloating, gas, indigestion, vomiting, and pain. Milk thistle side effects have been seen lesser in adults, and it is considered safe for adults so far.