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Milk Thistle

Hello and really good reading your invaluable posts - what a source of inspiration and information! 

I am a newcomer both to this forum and RA and have just taken 3rd dose of oral MTX with fingers tightly crossed as all seems to be well so far.  A friend suggested that milk thistle is supposed to be good support for the liver and immune system, the latter as we know is depleted by MTX!

I see my consultant this week and will ask her, as my GP does not know the answer, but has anyone any experience of using or knowledge about whether this remedy interacts negatively with MTX?

Thanks for any responses and best wishes to all.

3 Replies

Hiya SX2016 & welcome. I'm pleased to hear all seems well on MTX, I hope it continues, it's been an excellent med for me for 7 years now. 

It's always better to discuss with your Rheumy if you wish to supplement with natural treatments as many are contraindicated with the meds we take & your friend suggesting milk thistle is a good example. I don't know if you've looked online but one of it's properties is that it's considered helpful to boost the immune system, so not good for us who take meds in an effort to dampen down our overactive immune system. As you say MTX is an immunosuppressant, that's good because that's what it's intended to be, our system needs suppressing, as long as it's not too much (& MTX's effect isn't overly, not in comparison to some meds used for RD), other treatments such as biologics are more suppressive but at this stage you don't need those. Also, whilst it may support liver function, with you being so early in treatment it's important your Rheumy has accurate unmodified blood test results so he sees exactly how your liver is affected (or not) by the MTX & any other meds you're prescribed. There are some supplements which are considered useful but much depends on which your Rheumy considers helpful or thinks may be useful given that you're newly diagnosed, she may want you to hold off just now to see how you react to your initial treatment. With my Rheumy's ok I take a daily Omega 3 fish oil & I'm prescribed AdCal-D3, a daily calcium & vitamin D supplement as I'm borderline for osteoporosis.

I hope you enjoy being here & have a productive appointment. Fingers crossed your Rheumy is happy with your response so far, do let us know.

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I have been having herbs like mile thistle, horny goat weed, chaga mushroom for a  long time.  Good organic herbs are expensive and if you really want to see a big difference I would recommend buying them in capsule form.

Talk to a Chinese practitioner about herbs and ra.  If you want I can message you the details of who I email in the next couple of days but all means talk to your dr but I would be shocked if they have any issues with you taking Chinese herbs.


Just before I finally got my diagnosis of RA I visited a homeopath who gave me milk thistle without asking for any medical history (he was highly recommended by people in the area). I have since discovered from several different sources that people with thyroid problems should never take milk thistle. This is probably not relevant to you although I do know that a lot of people with RA also have thyroid problems.  My point is that I would never now take anything without checking with my rheumy first (or a trusted pharmacist). Good luck with your consultant appt. 

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