Q. I take several medications, so I was pleased to learn that the herb milk thistle may reduce the liver toxicity of certain drugs. I am very conscious of maintaining healthy liver function.
When purchasing the herb, however, I got confused. It is available in various strengths and the dosing instructions seem inconsistent.
What advice can you give me? I don’t want to take too much.

A. The dosage varies depending upon the purpose for which milk thistle is being used. For general liver protection, 200 mg of an extract standardized to 80 percent silymarin (the active ingredient) is taken two or three times a day.
ConsumerLab.com recently tested milk thistle products and found that relatively few of them meet the claims on their labels. Details are available for a fee at www.consumerlab.com.

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  1. T.A.
    Reply

    I am a healthy, active 48-year-old woman who likes to drink 3-4 glasses of red wine pretty much every night, interspersed with glasses of water. I do practice alcohol-free evenings periodically. I have regular tests every year, including annual blood tests and have had no problems.
    Until last year, that is, when my liver enzymes were slightly above normal which concerned me. Unsure of whether or not it had to do with my alcohol intake, I started taking 200-300 mg of Siliphos (a much more effective form of milk thistle) every day. This year, when I had my blood tested again, my liver enzyme levels were perfect. Was it the Siliphos? I can’t say, but it certainly didn’t hurt.
    (On a side note, my HDL (“good” cholesterol) has been extremely high for the past couple of years: 92 last year and something like 112 this year. Is this necessarily a good thing?)

  2. annie
    Reply

    Candy,
    I have recently switched from Milk Thistle drops once a day to 200 mg. capsules once a day. I have noticed as well that bowel movements have a quite greenish cast. I was thinking, also there could be some releasing of bile from the liver, but not being a medical person do not know if this makes sense or not. I, too am concerned. I may reduce the amount to every other day. I am taking it due to prescription headache medicine which gives me concern about affecting the liver. Let me know if you learn any more about this concern.

  3. BARBARA M.
    Reply

    Are herbal remedies such as Hawthorne safe and reliable for ailments such as high blood pressure, and furthermore, do they work, as opposed to the tested drugs?
    My daughter has just sent me a variety of herbs as she feels that I am taking too many medications, and wants me to go off all meds and take the herbs. She also takes a live detox substance and wants me to do the same. I am 73, female, and do have high blood pressure, which my doctor is working on to lower and maintain. I need your advice, please.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE DON’T KNOW OF ANY HERBS THAT CAN BE SUBSTITUTED FOR BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE. DO CHECK OUR GUIDE TO BLOOD PRESSURE CONTROL FOR SOME NON-DRUG SUGGESTIONS TO DISCUSS WITH YOUR DOCTOR. BOTH THE DASH DIET AND USE OF THE RESPERATE EQUIPMENT ARE BACKED BY CLINICAL TRIALS.

  4. Candy
    Reply

    Have been drinking Milk Thistle Tea, using 1 1/2 tsp seeds with 10 oz water. Steeped for 6 minutes. Bowel movements are now neon green, which I believe is bile from liver. Is this dangerous? I had impression that milk thistle is harmless. Thanks

  5. RR
    Reply

    Can milk thistle be taken with high blood pressure meds and plavix?

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