Does silymarin have any side effects?


Based on information from, a free medication monitoring service, 6% of patients experience side effects while taking silymarin (milk thistle). One of the side effects reported by iGuard members includes hot flashes. Please follow up with your doctor or other healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms that worsen or do not go away.

There are side effects associated with the use of silymarin (milk thistle). Milk thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many other members of the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. An allergic reaction that causes difficulty breathing and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat requires immediate medical attention. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking milk thistle. In general, milk thistle is safe for adults if taken responsibly. It can have a laxative effect or trigger nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, intestinal gas, bloating, fullness or pain, and loss of appetite. Extracts from milk thistle plant may have estrogen-like properties; if you have breast cancer, fibroids, PMS, or any condition that could be worsened by exposure to estrogen, do not use silymarin. The more commonly used milk thistle seed extracts do not seem to act like estrogen.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.