- Milk thistle is a plant whose fruit and seeds are used to make remedies for liver and bile duct ailments (see Question 1).
- The active ingredient found in milk thistle is silymarin, an antioxidant that, among other things, protects against cell damage and stimulates repair of liver tissue (see Question 1 and Question 5).
- Milk thistle has been studied in laboratory cell lines and animal tumors for its potential to make chemotherapy less toxic and more effective, and to slow the growth of cancer cells (see Question 3 and Question 5).
- Milk thistle is usually taken in capsules or tablets (see Question 4).
- Milk thistle has been studied in a clinical trial of children with leukemia (see Question 6).
- Very few bad side effects from the use of milk thistle or silymarin have been reported (see Question 7).
- It is not known if milk thistle may make anticancer medications or other drugs more or less effective when taken with them (see Question 7).
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of milk thistle as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition (see Question 8).
- Milk thistle is available in the United States as an herbal dietary supplement (see Question 8).