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Silymarin is used in the treatment of cholestatic liver diseases, alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver

How it works

Silymarin is an active principle obtained from milk thistle seed (Silybum marianum) . It might protect liver cells from toxic chemicals and drugs. It also seems to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Milk thistle plant extract might enhance the effects of estrogen.

Common side effects

Nausea, Abdominal bloating, Diarrhoea, Indigestion, Loss of appetite, Stomach pain, Stomach upset, Back pain, Hair loss, Dizziness, Abdominal pain, Itching, Rash

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Expert advice

  • Do not take antacids that contain aluminum while you are taking the Silymarin. This is because antacids decrease the amount of Silymarin absorbed by the body.
  • Notify your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
  • Silymarin should be taken preferably after meals.

Frequently asked questions



Is silymarin/milk thistle safe?
Silymarin is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor


Is silymarin same as milk thistle?
Yes, silymarin is a compound obtained from milk thistle seed


Is silymarin good for liver?
Silymarin acts as liver protectant and has been found to be effective for certain liver disease. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding its use

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Is silymarin good for kidney?
It is good for kidney as found in some studie


Is silymarin a flavonoidYes ,it contains a mixture of flavonolignans consisting of silibinin, isosilibinin, silicristin and silidianin.Is silymarin a blood thinner?
No, it acts as liver protectant


Does silymarin protect liver?
Yes, silymarin acts as liver protectant


Does silymarin cause low cholesterol level, diarrhea, lower bilirubin?
Diahhrea is the common side effect of silymarin. No clinically observable effect on cholesterol and bilirubin has been reported. Patient should follow doctor's advice regarding possible side effects


Does silymarin have estrogen?
No, however it may acts like estrogen.

Content on this page was last updated on 21 February, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)