PBC Foundation
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Milk Thistle HELP!

So I've never taken any pills, been afraid of alternative medicines, natural healing products. However I just began reading about milk thistle and liked everything I read, I asked my wife to pick me up some and she comes home from Mother's food shop (a natural food store here in California) with a bottle of pills (silly me thought it would actually be in a white liquid milk form)

I have a bottle of Fresh Freeze-Dried, Milk Thistle Sillybum marianum seed meal 800 mg per capsule, I believe the woman at the store told my wife I should take 3 tablets at breakfast and 3 at dinner but I really don't care what she thinks. Can someone with PBC and first-hand knowledge please give me their opinion on how to slowly start using this please? Thank you my UK friends.. ;)

9 Replies

Long story about milk thistle told short - there are quite a few of studies showing various benefits of milk thistle, particularly for the liver, generally speaking. But...

As you do not have previous experience or knowledge on natural remedies, the most reasonable way to proceed is to talk not to other people (except only for opinions) but to some specialist who has both medical and natural remedies training, and of course with a doctor who speaks because he/she knows (as opposed to saying No only because they have actually no idea) and can guide you into if/which herbs and in which ways to take, effects on medication, etc.

Fyi, strictly related to PBC & milk thistle - pbc-society.ca/archived_que...

"How does Milk Thistle affect the liver?

Milk thistle, I think is reasonably safe, in patients with liver disease. Whether it helps patients with liver disease is debatable, but there is a small number of studies that show clear benefits. Patients should also be aware that it is quite expensive and should factor this into their decision-making when thinking about taking Milk Thistle." (I doubt it is that expensive, but depends on where you live)


Thank you Christina, I've been reading the same thing I'm trying to figure out a dosage now and I guess I'm going to start slow and see how I feel on it...I also notice this on your link about "itching"....Can pruritis be caused by too high a dosage of URSO?

Some patients may experience worsening pruritus on URSO. However, I am not aware that is related to the amount of URSO taken.


Again, I would not suggest to "try and see" as you don't have knowledge or experience with these kind of remedies. In this case not because it might harm, but because, in order to be effective, natural remedies should be taken in a certain dosage, before/after meals, etc. For example milk thistle is best taken in the morning and/or when on an empty stomach. But again, knowing what I do about this, I suggest to see a specialist / a doctor who knows, and learn properly about dosage, effects, action on the liver, etc etc

I cannot say whether the itch can be caused by high Urso, and I doubt anybody here, with all good will, whilst not being a doctor or a PBC Foundation experienced person, can give any reliable answer. Talk to your doctor and the PBC Foundation, I would suggest :).


I have been taking one 175 mg capsule three times a day as ordered by my specialist. I am also taking urso 300mg twice a day. My blood work has improved. I do not have puritus. Milk thistle cost me $13 for 200purchased at a chain store. I have nothing negative to say about this product.


Thank you Angel for your input, you're a Angel. ;)


Personally I don't give a toss really with regards to certain things the specialists say. Listen to them at times and one year you shouldn't do this, the next that. When I was growing up I myself, my sister and brother (we were mid-1960 to late 1960's children) were given little powders that were aspirin, cooling powders we called them. Then years later it was said that children under 12 should not be given aspirin.

If you read a previous recent posting I did on this site, I quoted some text from a Reader's Digest book and according to that it stated that milk thistle 'was considered one of the safest herbs on the market'. It has apparently been used in hospital emergency rooms when a patient has ingested poisonous mushrooms.

I decided myself to take milk thistle in tablet form (there are a few different formulations) earlier this yr after having 8mths of LFTs that were starting to elevate again following a good 6mths starting on them end 2010. In the mth prior to my repeat bloods in May this yr I took milk thistle, one a day at lunchtime (as I take urso morning and night) and myj LFTs had greatly improved. I did cease taking them after as wasn't so sure if that or not. I didn't feel overly-different taking them tho' I can say I am sure my itching wasn't as prevalent for awhile.

On my last repeats in Oct the LFTs had climbned slightly from May so I am sure the milk thistle has helped and I am back taking it now to find out in Feb when I have the next repeats.

Altho' I can't speak or advise here, I think you have to go with what you feel you should do and get your specialist's opinion if you are unsure.

My rule is that despite opinions saying we shouldn't take this or that because.... I wholly do not believe all I get told from the medical profession either as I know they can and do at times get things wrong.


Totally agree peridot, that's why I value this forum, it was clear my doctors at Mayo were skeptical when I told them urso began to work after 10 days of use. Then they blood tested me on the fourteenth day and noticed my bilrubim dropped nearly in half. I knew this because on the tenth day my stool changed from tan to brown and I went from having to take a bowel movement 4-5 times a day moments after every eating to once or twice a day.


I was diagnosed in '07 with AIH/PBC with quite high LFT's. About 3yrs ago I started taking Milk Thistle -1000mg 2x/day. Then increased to 2 capsulses 2x/day and my numbers started stabilizing. Over a year ago I decided to do my own test to see if the MT was actually helping, so quit taking it for about 6 wks. - numbers went up (tho' not dramatically in that time span). Went back on MT and numbers came back down and are holding. I know our numbers can fluctuate a bit but not as much as mine did so I let everyone know about Milk Thistle. Oh yes - my Gastroenterologist/Hep. was fine with my taking it. -:) Like HealthAngel, I have nothing negative to say about it. I pay about $7 for 90, 1000mg softgels at WM.

That being said, Cristina is right on. -:) We on the forum can give you our opinion and encouragement as well as our "testimony" about different things but it is truly in your best interest to gather all the info that you can and then talk to your Dr. If you have been to Mayo, you can't go to a much better place for this disease. -:).(In my humble opinion. LOL)

Welcome to the forum and let us know how you get along.


Thank you Tumble, could I ask you where you came up with your dosage amount and frequency?


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