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Experience with milk thistle for liver function?

_piaffe Posts: 163 Member
Hi there,

I have chronic rheumatoid arthritis and take biologics and other meds that are hard on the liver. Based on my latest blood work results, the doctor is suggesting milk thistle to help "cleanse" my liver.

I've googled and know people take it for a variety of reasons. If you have taken it and noticed a difference, can you share a bit about your experience and observations?


  • elphie754
    elphie754 Posts: 7,574 Member
    If your doctor suggested a "cleanse" you need to find a new doctor.
  • LuckyNumbers
    LuckyNumbers Posts: 208 Member
    My husband used it after getting some not-fun blood results and saw markedly improved numbers at his next visit a few months later. In his case, he has a genetic predisposition to liver issues, and milk thistle can help liver function in some people.

    I agree that it does not "cleanse" your liver - that's crap. However, it can support and improve liver function. The link that @evileen99 sent is a great starting point to find out if it's right for you, and whether it would affect or interact with other medications you're taking. And you might want to think about getting a second opinion, just in case.
  • stealthq
    stealthq Posts: 4,298 Member
    Milk thistle is definitely not a cleanse - agree with the other posters. It is part of a prescribed regimen to support liver function that'd normally include SAM-e. It is not recommended for all liver ailments. I've had to use it for a couple of cats and a dog - different diagnoses, different severities. My dad was prescribed some a while ago when he had some labs that were out of whack. In all three cases, the liver recovered.

    More info from what seems to be a decent source:
  • DanyellMcGinnis
    DanyellMcGinnis Posts: 315 Member
    I'm allergic to ragweed so I avoid milk thistle. Kind of surprising how many teas and such it shows up in. Definitely check out the link a few users have posted to make sure it is not going to bean issue for you.
  • _piaffe
    _piaffe Posts: 163 Member
    Thanks. Yes, I am aware it is not a cleanse and cleanses are not an actual thing - hence the "quotes".

    LuckyNumbers, that's good to know. That's what my doctor was aiming for in my case.
  • suzyjane1972
    suzyjane1972 Posts: 612 Member
    My mum took it during her chemo breaks to help support her battered liver.....I can't honestly say if it works but her liver numbers were never an issue (they sometimes tank)
  • MelaniaTrump
    MelaniaTrump Posts: 2,694 Member
    edited June 2016
    I hope you are also eating a lot of healthy foods.
    Greens such as spinach and kale.
    Beets carrots
    Green tea - antioxidants called catechins
    Lemon water
    Also a multi with b12 and exercise daily.
    A simple tea a day is not going to do it.
    Avoiding fast foods and highly processed boxed foods.
  • marm1962
    marm1962 Posts: 950 Member

    On a dietary level, you can also find silymarin in artichokes, turmeric, and coriander (cilantro), although milk thistle is the richest known source.
  • Ultima_Morpha
    Ultima_Morpha Posts: 895 Member
    I have lupus and my liver enzymes always run a little high; I can keep them in normal range when I regularly take milk thistle.