Milk Thistle Tea - Are There Known Side Effects? - Herbal Hermit
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Milk Thistle Tea - Are There Known Side Effects?

Milk thistle is an herb used for centuries to treat many health problems. This is a flowering plant with purple flowers that contain white veins. These white veins are said to be a drop of milk from virgin Mary as per traditional Christian belief. Thus, it is also called Mary thistle or holy thistle. It contains a group of compounds with medicinal benefits which is called silymarin. This plant is the daisy plant and is native to Mediterranian countries. If you are here to check side effects of milk thistle tea, you are at the right place.


What Is Milk Thistle Used For?


Milk Thistle, Image taken using


Milk thistle is used for many health benefits and has been used to treat many health problems, especially liver ailments like liver cirrhosis, hepatitis C, jaundice and gallbladder disorders.

  • Lowers cholesterol and protects heart
  • Controls blood sugar levels and help manage type - 2 diabetes
  • Treat chronic liver disease
  • Detoxifies body

Silymarin present in milk thistle is the main ingredient in milk thistle, and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There are very few studies conducted to see its effectiveness in treating liver disease, but many have claimed milk thistle works amazingly. It can treat even chronic conditions.

Not only liver disease, it is said that milk thistle can treat type-2 diabetes as well by controlling blood sugar levels and improving insulin resistance. However, more research is needed to prove this strongly.

Milk thistle can also lower LDL or bad cholesterol and protect the heart. Those suffering from diabetes also have higher risk of having heart problems. Hence, directly and indirectly, it can protect the heart. However, more studies need to be conducted.


Side Effects of Milk Thistle


Side Effects of Milk Thistle


We know multiple benefits of drinking milk thistle tea regularly, but before knowing benefits and dosage, it’s very important to know the side effects of milk thistle to decide whether you can take it or not. There are herbs which do not cause any side effects and a few herbs cause minimal side effects. But, there are also some herbs that cause few serious side effects. Milk thistle falls under the latter. It does cause few serious side effects one should know before deciding to take it or not.

Certain studies state that it is safe to take it for up to 41 months. Milk thistle side effects include:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Nausea
  3. Gas
  4. Bloating
  5. Indigestion
  6. Stomach upset
  7. Loss of appetite
  8. Rash or severe allergic reaction
  9. Itching
  10. Headache

While the above mentioned are frequent ones, a few milk thistle tea side effects are observed rarely such as muscle aches, sexual dysfunction, and joint pain. There are chances of experiencing shortness of breath, hives, rapid heartbeat, swelling of the face, neck, or tongue, lightheadedness, etc. after taking milk thistle.

It’s very important to reach for medical help. If left untreated, it can lead to shock, cardiac failure, respiratory failure, coma, or even death.



  • Children should use them.
  • Hypersensitivity to Compositae plants/Asteraceae plants, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies
  • Breast cancer
  • Pregnant and lactating women
  • People with ragweed allergy
  • Fibroid tumors or endometriosis
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Hypoglycemic patients

Lactating mothers and pregnant women should strictly avoid taking milk thistle tea and supplement. People with ragweed, daisy, kiwi, artichokes allergies should also avoid milk thistle due to milk thistle tea side effects. Milk thistle may also mimic the hormone, estrogen in the body which means some women must avoid taking milk thistle. Women having fibroid tumors or endometriosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer should avoid this herb. It may also interact with few medicines. So, it’s important to check with a doctor if you are using any medication or supplements.

These include:

  • Antibiotics like Biaxin - Clarithromycin
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like Celebrex (Celecoxib), Voltaren (Diclofenac), and Advil (Ibuprofen)
  • Statins like Mevacor (Lovastatin) and Lescol (Fluvastatin)
  • Anticoagulants like Coumadin (Warfarin)

You must be considering avoiding milk thistle now, but not everybody experiences them. There are many people who have benefited from milk thistle. The only suggestion is to consult your doctor before taking it.

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