British Liver Trust
12,439 members6,114 posts

Milk Thistle and Complementary & Alternative Medicines

Dear all,

We hope you are all enjoying this rare sunny weather in the UK?

We have noticed that some followers are advocating the use of milk thistle and other complementary therapies again, we thought that we would like to remind you of The British Liver Trust's position on this.

The British Liver Trust does not recommend the use of any homeopathic or herbal remedies for those with any liver problems as these have to be processed by the liver and can actually damage the liver and lead to severe illness.

More research needs to be done on the use and safety of such remedies and therapies.

Homeopathic remedies are unregulated in the UK and concentrations of active ingredients vary by brand purchased. If you are considering using complementary or alternative remedies &/or therapies please always discuss this with your GP and liver doctor first.

Plerase see the link here to our website page on Complementary & Alternative Medicines;

Thanks for reading and wishing you all a great bank holiday,

Warm wishes,


The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.
25 Replies

Hi Rebecca, I remember this subject as being my first ever post regarding milk thistle . I did ask my own doctor about it but even he didn't know much about it .when I had my first hepetologist appt in Feb this year this was one of the main questions I asked.. instantly she said a big fat NO! that she had known of two patients to become very poorly by using milk thistle. I do not take anything apart from what is prescribed, a good diet no smoking and no alcohol 😊


Hi Linda, Thanks for your feedback, hope you are well and enjoy the bank holiday :)


Your very welcome Rebecca. Yes I am ok thank you for asking. Have a good weekend yourself 😊


Hi. My doctor told me it was okay to use Milk Thistle but only the kind that has just that in it. Some have other herbal ingredients in it and she said NO to that. I guess it is just like anything else. Doctors do not always agree on what they say you can take and don't take.


Hi coleen, I suppose as you say some Drs agree and some don't; but due to the fact that this was the lead consultant at the liver clinic at the QE hospital then I have to follow my hepetologists reccomendations .I know there's something in the actual milk thistle itself that is supposed to benefit the liver, I am not familiar with pure milk thistle or milk thistle with other products in them .it's all down to personal choice really. My liver disease is now f4 stage so I need to follow what they tell me .😊..


Unfortunately, That IS the problem, Doctors don't know much about the benefits of foods/herbs/ that can help us, I'm not totally knocking drugs, but they only give you those alternatives. Doctors are trained in primarily using pharmaceuticals very little of their training is spent on nutritional aspects. Don't forget that funding of medical schools comes from the big pharmaceutical companies so a Doctors training is totally influenced by pharma.


its worth a try, honestly I believe it saved my life.

With my husband we tried everything to releave the symptoms. The medication he was prescribed obviously but in his case also golden linseeds to keep him regular, a fresh pear a day and a cup of twinnings cleaning tea in the evening, That contained milk thistle and mint. Not herbal remedies as such more food that helped him a little bit.

4 years post transplant now and enjoying life. He still eats pears though. Lol

Keep well everybody and have a great weekend.


Hi Rebecca,before talking about 'Milk Thistle' I should introduce myself as i'm a new member and a fervent follower of this site and thank everyone for their help..... Last year,whilst In Sofia,Bulgaria,I was diagnosed with cirrhosis.I was nearly 'Knocking on Heavens door' and i was rushed to hospital there.The doctors drained my abdomen,treated the Viral Hepatitis i had,I also had serious Pneumonia,was coughing blood, and in a few words 'Saved me'.I had been ill for months but didn't know that i had liver problems!!! Too much alcohol for too many years !! However now I don't drink or smoke anymore...Eat well...Lots of 'Juicing' etc play music again,I'm a musician, have written another 2 albums ready to record, lost a lot of flabby weight and generally feel fit !!! Thank God i was given a chance ,I have two children my son of 12 and my daughter of 14,and without them I wouldn't be here !! The thought of their sorrow of losing their Dad,I have always been very close to them, made me strive to get better again and change my ways....I lost my father at the age of ten!! and know what it means to be a 'Fatherless' child. Coming to the point of this reply to 'Milk Thistle', the Doctors in Bulgaria prescribed me 4 medicines to take,daily, one of which is 'Carsil' (6 capsules of 90mg daily) This medicine is 'Silymarin' , an extract of milk thistle. In England i think the equivalent is called 'Leghorn' ? I don't know because i live in Italy,Rome. I also take 'Spironlacton' 25mg 3 times a day,'Transmettil'(Ademetionine) 2x 500mg once a day and 2x 250mg Ursofalk (ursodeoxycholic acid) The doctors say i should continue with 'Carsil' indefinitely ? So far I'm feeling good !!

Anyway thanks and good luck and happiness to all



Hi Richard,

Welcome to the forum, we are very glad that you are feeling so well.

We cannot comment on what doctors prescribe in different countries, all we would say; is to always only take the medications prescribed to you by your own doctor, and discuss taking any other 'over the counter' medications with your GP in the first instance.

Have a lovely weekend,

Best wishes,



Hi there RobHood. Firstly im glad you are feeling well again, thats brilliant. thats also a very interesting read. Ive been sent some silymarin from a friend in europe, but ive never dared to take it. I might mention it to my doctor. Thanks for your post


Hi Richard. Thank you for your amazing post .oh and I wished I lived in Italy 😊.. I am booked to go there next year fingers crossed. Well done on your music career, and glad to hear you are doing so well .. best wishes linda 😁

1 like


Thank you for sharing. I don't know about there but here in the USA doctors kill thousands by prescription medication that is pushed by big pharma. I do appreciate that medical technology has advanced so well but we need not take doctors word as Gods. We need to do our own research and be our own advocates.

Life is precious and I'm so thankful for this platform, I have learned a lot here.

Cheers all!



You are bang on

I took 3 times the recommended daily dose of these for 6 months and have gone from decompensated to compensated. There is no KNOWN cure for cirrhosis, but when prescription drugs can't help, then why what ?

Spironolactone as a diuretic is known to be bad for your liver, but we take it ???????


I don't take any meds for my cirrohsis. Just vitamin b12 and thiamine, I have had cirrhosis 9 years.. I have a very healthy diet; no alcohol , no smoking and no milk thistle.. and I am still here no transplant and on no transplant list either... no spironalctone either. Natural good food with veg , fruit and protein; low salt you can't get any better than that in my eyes .I'm living proof 😁


Fruit is full of sugar don't forget

All in moderation and depends on what fruit you have

1 like

Another "saying"

"Everything in moderation "

Come on really!

Hi jeffalum , glad to hear your health has improved 😊.. thing is with the liver, it can be ok for a while then take a turn downhill then go back up again .it's a well known medical fact if you ask any hepetologist. Personally I don't think milk thistle plays any part in it , I have and never will take it down to personal choice.

1 like

Thanks for letting me know that I will most probably get worse again. You should join the Samaritans. Your wasting that talent you been gifted

1 like

I did not point that out to be directed at you personally; it's a well known fact , try asking any liver consultant. I am end stage and no one, not even myself can say how or what will happen from one day to.the next. I like to gain knowledge so I can prepare for what may or may not happen instead of burying my head in the sand.. Oh and I am well and happy.


I'm glad that you are well and happy. I wish you well

1 like

Aww thank you jeffalum . That's very kind of you. I'm glad you are well too 😊

1 like

I've lived and worked in Italy and milk thistle is routinely prescribed for people with liver "issues". I've taken it myself but apart from placebo effect possibly I didn't notice any improvement. The italians eat of artichokes which are the same family as milk thistle and apart from being delicious are said to be very liver friendly. You could go that route-if nothing else you're getting very good nutrition.

The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.

You may also like...