Should you be using milk thistle?

I will begin this post with utmost transparency and admit that I am not someone who uses milk thistle. The reason I picked milk thistle as a topic for today’s post is because my mom recently started using it at the recommendation of her naturopath, and because I’m not terribly well-versed in all things milk thistle, I thought I would do a bit of research to educate myself, and anyone reading this post as well.

Any information pertaining to milk thistle in this post comes from

Milk thistle is arguably the most common name for this stuff, but additional names for it include Mary thistle and holy thistle.

“Milk thistle is native to Europe and was introduced into North America by early colonists. Milk thistle is found throughout the eastern United States, California, South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia. The terms ‘milk thistle’ and ‘silymarin’ are often used interchangeably. Historically, people have used milk thistle for liver disorders and gallbladder problems. Milk thistle is promoted as a dietary supplement for hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice, diabetes, indigestion, and other conditions.”

I’m not going to disclose my mom’s personal health here on my blog, but her naturopath did recommend her taking milk thistle to benefit her liver. My mom didn’t necessarily have the most pleasant experience with it, though; she ended up experiencing a lot of indigestion and other gastrointestinal issues, and ultimately decided to stop taking it. When she mentioned this to her naturopath, she was told that, apparently, this is a common occurrence for people upon initially starting milk thistle; it gets worse before it gets better type-thing.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that logic, specifically when it is impacting your guts, so personally, I think I’ll abstain from trying milk thistle unless otherwise encouraged to do so for a valid and logical reason.

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