The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point

Archive for the 'Milk Thistle' Category

Milk thistle interaction with raloxifene (Evista)

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

milk_thistleRaloxifene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that is used to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Researchers at Washington State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro evaluated the inhibitory effects of individual milk thistle constituents on the intestinal glucuronidation (detoxification) of raloxifene.

First, the details.

  • The inhibitory effects of individual milk thistle constituents on the intestinal metabolism of raloxifene were studied in the lab.
  • UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1-1 (also known as UGT-1A) is an enzyme in human intestines, which along with UGT1A8, and UGT1A10 are critical to metabolizing and removing raloxifene from the body.

And, the results.

  • Milk thistle components silybin A and silybin B were potent inhibitors of raloxifene metabolism.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded: “Silibinin and silymarin [the major active constituents] were predicted to increase raloxifene systemic exposure by about 5-fold, indicating a high risk of interaction. Safety of raloxifene is discussed here.

It’s understandable that these women seek CAM, including herbals, to supplement raloxifene treatment.

It needs to be studied in humans, but for now, the risk of taking milk thistle would seem to outweigh any potential benefits. Check with your healthcare professional.

6/20/15 JR


Milk thistle fails in study of Hep C treatment

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Silymarin (Silybium marianum), an extract of milk thistle, is often used to treat chronic liver disease.

Researchers with the Silymarin in the NASH and C Hepatitis (SyNCH) Study Group studied its effect when combined with interferon. (more…)

CAM treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Standard therapies are of limited value for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology, in Australia, reviewed the value of CAM, self-help techniques, and lifestyle interventions. (more…)

No benefit from milk thistle to treat hepatitis C

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The botanical extract silymarin (milk thistle,) has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties and is used by patients with chronic liver disease.

Researchers throughout the U.S. collaborated to evaluate the response to high doses of silymarin taken by mouth on disease activity in patients with chronic hepatitis C. The results were presented during the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases November Annual Meeting. (more…)

CYP2D6-mediated herb-drug interactions

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) is a liver enzyme responsible for the metabolism of approximately 30% of all drugs.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock studied the effect of CYP2D6 on the metabolism of several herbal supplements and the risk of drug interactions. (more…)

Is there a role for milk thistle treatment of liver toxicity in leukemia?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Liver-DamageMilk thistle is often used to treat chemotherapy-associated liver toxicity.

Researchers from the US studied it in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). (more…)

Reviewing “energy shot” products

Friday, May 7th, 2010

The American Botanical Council (ABC) has published a 40-page review of an emerging new product and market category called “energy shots.” The report focuses on shots sold mainly in the United States and the United Kingdom. (more…)

Herbals to treat psoriasis: A review of the evidence

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Dr. Sharon Jacob from the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Florida and colleagues reviewed the scientific support for herbals used by patients with psoriasis.

Here are the highlights.

ConsumerLab tests milk thistle supplements

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

consumer-labMilk thistle is sometimes taken as a natural treatment for liver problems.

Unfortunately, most milk thistle supplements contain less than the labeled amount of silymarin. (more…)

Herbals for arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Ms. Meenakshi Khatta is a nurse practitioner and associate professor at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Nurse Khatta has reviewed the use of CAM to treat pain due to musculoskeletal conditions.

Here are her findings on herbal supplements used to treat fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. (more…)

Most commonly used natural products

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Here’s a follow-up to an earlier post on the use of CAM in the US in 2007 as surveyed by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). (more…)

Interactions between supplements and drugs used to treat AIDS

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have reviewed natural health products (NHPs) and antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Here are the results


Milk thistle, iron, and hepatitis C

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Milk thistle is used as an alternative therapy for liver disease.

Researchers in Seattle, Washington examined the effect of silybin on iron status in patients with hepatitis C. (more…)

Response to milk thistle among people with hepatitis C

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Researchers in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) Trial looked at the use and response to silymarin (milk thistle extract) among the patients in the study. (more…)

Allopathic and CAM update on diabetes treatment in young people

Friday, September 7th, 2007

The review article is posted on the American Family Physician website. In addition to diagnosis and pharmacological treatment, it covers diet and exercise.

CAM options are not included. (more…)

Little support for milk thistle in liver disease

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

A friend asked me to look into CAM treatments for fatty liver disease. I did, but found little to support milk thistle — the most often discussed CAM treatment.


Clarifying milk thistle nomenclature

Monday, July 16th, 2007

It’s easy to fall into the trap of using names incorrectly, assuming that differences are unimportant.

Milk thistle extracts are being studied to treat cancer and lessen the side effects of chemotherapy. Here’s what we should know, terminology-wise. (more…)

Poor quality control with milk thistle supplements

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

At the end of 2006 I listed milk thistle as a supplement worth additional research. This was because of a study in people with diabetes where milk thistle was associated with a decline in A1c circuclating in blood.

Now, has tested 12 milk thistle products. (more…)

Milk thistle improves A1c in people with diabetes

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007 gives milk thistle (Silybum marianum seed extract [silymarin]) a “C” grade for its role in the treatment of diabetes. In other words, there is “unclear scientific evidence for this use.”

But this might change as a result of this study on the effect of milk thistle on A1c in people with type 2 diabetes.


Herbals I’d like to see more research on in 2007

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Milk thistle and butterbur

Here’s why.