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News - Milk Thistle New Benefits Discovered for Allergies and Inflammation

By Holly Taylor BSc (Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

The herb milk thistle is widely used to support liver function, but two recent clinical trials have found surprising and useful anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory activities.

In the more recent double blind trial conducted in Iran, 94 patients suffering the signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis and exhibiting positive skin prick tests to common airborne allergens, randomly received either milk thistle extract or dummy pills for one month. Symptoms were measured before and after the supplementation period using the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-20!) and analysis of the results revealed that while both groups experienced some improvements; the positive changes were significantly greater in the group taking the milk thistle.

In the 2009-published double blind clinical trial from Iraq, 220 patients with painful knee osteoarthritis were randomised into five groups. The groups received either milk thistle, the drug piroxicam, the medication meloxicam or a combination of milk thistle and one of the two anti-inflammatory medications for a period of eight weeks. The results showed that treatment with milk thistle significantly reduced the participants’ blood levels of inflammatory chemicals compared to baseline.  

Article References

Bakhshaee M et al. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2011; 145(6): 904-909 Hussain SA et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of silymarin [milk thistle extract] in patients with knee osteoarthritis. A comparative study with piroxicam and meloxicam. Saudi Med J 2009; 30(1): 98-103

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