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Does Milk Thistle Help in Kidney Function?

Does Milk Thistle Help in Kidney Function?

What is milk thistle?

Milk thistle is a weed-like plant of the Mediterranean region, and it has a purple flower; it is a relative of the flowers daisy and dandelion. Humans have been using various herbs and natural remedies like Milk Thistle for thousands of years to heal various diseases. So, milk thistle can cure various ailments, mainly the liver, kidney, and gallbladder.

Silymarin is a flavonoid of milk thistle-dried fruit, the main ingredient in milk thistle. These two words represent this ancient herb. Silymarin is a flavonoid complex of silibinin, silydianin and silicristin.
Silymarin is high in antioxidant and inflammatory properties and can help fight against the risk of type 2 diabetes. It may also help fight the oxidation of healthy cells.

Scientific studies suggest that Silymarin can protect the liver from toxins; it also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help maintain a healthy liver and protect it from medicine like Tylenol, which can cause liver damage when given in high doses. Milk Thistle can also assist the liver in repairing itself, helping with new cell growth.

Today its available in the market in the form of Milk Thistle extract or Silymarin. You can consume it as a supplement or medicine. More scientific research is happening and suggesting its various health benefits, including anticancer properties.

Also Read: Milk Thistle - A Powerhouse of vital enzymes

What is milk thistle used for?

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for various ailments, particularly liver, kidney, and gallbladder problems.

Milk Thistle helps in curing various liver ailments. Many people get liver problems because of overconsumption of alcohol. This remedy helps them make their liver healthy again.

Milk thistle can be helpful for people with chronic hepatitis C. In fact, a survey reported that 23 percent of people with hepatitis C are using Milk Thistle as an herbal supplement.

It works as an adjunct with conventional cancer therapies to prevent possible liver damage from treatments like Chemo or Radiotherapy. Due to its inflammatory properties, it reduces the pain caused by these treatments.

Research is going on for its anticancer properties. It helps prevent or recurrence of cancer cells.

Does milk thistle help kidney function?

Milk Thistle can be helpful in kidney disease in people with diabetes (diabetic nephropathy). Early research shows that taking milk thistle extract together with conventional treatment might help treat kidney disease in people with diabetes.

Nephropathy is one of the most important complications of diabetes mellitus and drug-induced toxicity. Nephrotoxicity is mainly related to oxidative stress, and nowadays, much attention has been made to the possible kidney protective properties of medicinal plants. Studies revealed silymarin is helpful for diabetic nephropathy.
The combination of metformin, silymarin and renin-angiotensin system inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers may have additive kidney protective properties to prevent or slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy.

Recent evidence suggests that silymarin (milk thistle) may be just as crucial for kidney health as for the liver. Silymarin concentrates in kidney cells, where it aids in repairing and regeneration by increasing protein and nucleic acid synthesis.

Therefore, the combination of metformin, silymarin and renin-angiotensin system inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers may have additive kidney protective properties beyond controlling the blood sugar of metformin to prevent or slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy.

Also Read: Milk Thistle And Silymarin Benefits & Uses

Milk thistle and side effects

For the vast majority of people, Milk Thistle will be safe, and the side effects caused are very mild. The most potential side effect seems to be gastrointestinal discomfort. And this can happen only if the patient is undergoing a high-end daily dosage. If you experience this discomfort, you should reduce the supplement intake and consult your oncologist for further understanding.
Oral consumption of milk thistle can lead to several digestive issues, such as nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, gas, stomach bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, loss of appetite, and alterations in bowel movements.

Also, people taking medications for allergies, anxiety, and high cholesterol should consult a doctor before taking the Milk Thistle supplement. Most importantly, expecting and breastfeeding mothers should avoid taking supplements without a doctor's recommendation.

Considering the benefits, milk thistle supplements hopefully can become a magical pill to swallow to prevent cancer.

How to consume milk thistle?

Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to add this sacred plant to our daily diet. You can buy Milk Thistle capsules, extractions, or other supplements. You can always buy and eat the milk thistle seed. The seeds are edible. Also, you can brew a cup of Milk Thistle tea and enjoy!

In a few countries, the active component silybin is directly injected into the patients by intravenous infusion to treat liver disorders. Therefore, it helps with liver damage caused by alcohol, chemotherapy, and other chemicals.

Also Read: What To Look For When Buying Milk Thistle

Milk thistle and cancer

Several small studies indicated milk thistle can be used to decrease side effects of cancer treatment. A randomized clinical trial in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia found that silymarin decreased the side effects of chemotherapy on the liver without harming or interacting with the cancer treatment.


Milk Thistle or Silymarin is a natural, safe, plant-based remedy that has the potential to heal and protect the liver and kidney from a variety of possible damages. If someone is taking a medicine that can potentially harm any of these organs, then milk thistle can protect that.

FAQs on Milk Thistle

1. How should milk thistle be taken by cancer patients?
Dosage and form (such as capsules, liquid, or tea) should be determined by a healthcare provider or your healthcare team, taking into account the patient's overall health and treatment regimen.

2. Can milk thistle help with liver problems associated with cancer treatment?
Milk thistle is often used for liver health, and some studies suggest it may help protect the liver from damage caused by cancer treatments.

3. How is milk thistle thought to affect cancer?
Some laboratory studies suggest that milk thistle may have anti-cancer effects. It's believed that silymarin in milk thistle can potentially slow the growth of cancer cells and may even make chemotherapy work better against certain cancers.
it is said to slow the growth of some types of cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. Milk thistle may play a part in treating liver disease and some types of cancer.

4. Is Milk thistle safe to use?
Yes, it is safe to use if used under medical supervision or when consulted by a medical expert.
Milk thistle may produce allergic reactions, which tend to be more common among people who are allergic to plants in the same family (for example, ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, and daisy). Milk thistle may lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes should use it with caution.

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