Does Milk Thistle Lower Blood Pressure

Does Milk Thistle Lower Blood Pressure?

Milk thistle is a well-known herb for supporting liver and gallbladder function. Recently, there's been interest in another potential benefit: "Does milk thistle help reduce blood pressure?" Exploring this blood pressure-lowering benefit could offer a natural solution for blood pressure management. This article will help you understand this topic.

Before exploring further, please read the disclaimer located at the end of this webpage.

Key Takeaways

  • Controlling blood pressure can reduce risks and support diabetes treatment.
  • Milk thistle may help lower blood pressure due to its silymarin content.
  • Studies have shown that using milk thistle at 240-900 mg daily doses is safe.
  • Milk thistle can interact with several medications, including blood pressure drugs, so caution is needed.

What Is Blood Pressure And Its Relation To Diabetes?

What Is Blood Pressure And Its Relation To Diabetes

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood out. This pressure, created by the heart's contraction and the resistance of the arteries, helps circulate blood to the organs and tissues in the body.

High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke, affecting over 600 million people worldwide, with a particularly high prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) [1].

Additionally, the relationship between blood pressure and diabetes is of great interest. People with diabetes often have higher blood pressure compared to those without diabetes [2].

High blood pressure can damage the beta cells in the pancreas, reducing the pancreas's ability to produce insulin, leading to insulin resistance, and increasing the risk of developing diabetes.

Research has shown that managing blood pressure in people with diabetes brings significant benefits. For those with diabetes, blood pressure above 130/80 mmHg increases the risk of kidney and cardiovascular diseases.

When researchers used blood pressure medications for these patients, they achieved the target blood pressure of <130/80 mmHg and reduced the risk of kidney and cardiovascular diseases [3].

Therefore, serious blood pressure management can significantly support kidney and cardiovascular health in diabetic patients.

Does Milk Thistle Lower Blood Pressure?

Milk thistle may help lower blood pressure.

Some studies have shown that silymarin, the main component of milk thistle, may have blood pressure-lowering effects. Milk thistle has long been used for its antioxidant, lipid-lowering, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-obesity, and hepatoprotective properties [4].

Scientific Studies About Milk Thistle And Blood Pressure

scientific studies demonstrate the effects of milk thistle on blood pressure

Several scientific studies have been conducted on humans and animals to demonstrate the effects of milk thistle on blood pressure.

An animal study showed that milk thistle helped reduce blood pressure in hypertensive rats. This study evaluated silymarin's effectiveness in reducing high blood pressure in rats with one kidney removed and treated with DOCA salt.

After 4 weeks of treatment, silymarin (300 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg) significantly reduced systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and baseline blood pressure.

Silymarin also increased antioxidant enzyme levels and improved sodium excretion in urine, indicating that silymarin has significant antihypertensive activity [5].

A human study conducted in 2006 demonstrated the efficacy of milk thistle seed extract (silymarin) in 51 patients with type II diabetes. The results showed that using silymarin for 4 months improved the glycemic profile and the overall condition of the patients [6].

Many other studies have also demonstrated milk thistle's potential blood pressure-lowering effects. Silymarin in milk thistle helps reduce blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, and several other indicators [7].

Safety And Side Effects Of Milk Thistle For Blood Pressure

Safety And Side Effects Of Milk Thistle For Blood Pressure

Reports generally indicate that milk thistle is a safe herb. Commonly used oral doses in adults range from 240–900 mg per day, divided into two or three doses [8].

However, when used at higher doses above 1500 mg per day, silymarin may cause diarrhea due to increased bile flow and secretion [8].

Additionally, some individuals may experience side effects such as excessive sweating, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

It is also advised not to use milk thistle products if you are allergic to daisies, as allergic reactions may occur.

Moreover, milk thistle can interact with various medications, including those used to treat high cholesterol, infections, insomnia, high blood pressure, asthma or allergies, cancer, erectile dysfunction, stomach pain or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), migraine headaches, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders, psychiatric disorders, or seizures.

Therefore, consult with a doctor or healthcare professional before using milk thistle to ensure safety.

Alternative Ways To Manage Your Blood Pressure

Besides using milk thistle and other supplements, there are other ways to manage your blood pressure.

Manage weight by controlling diet and exercising regularly. Choose foods like whole grains and those high in fiber, use lower-sodium salt, or use less salt in cooking. Exercise can help improve cardiovascular health and reduce insulin resistance. A healthy heart pumps more efficiently without working too hard.

Relax and improve mental health to better control blood pressure. When stressed, the body produces more cortisol and adrenaline, which can increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and lead to higher blood pressure.

Limit the use of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol. These substances can affect blood pressure and blood sugar levels, so controlling their intake can help protect and improve your overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Milk Thistle Safe For Everyone?

Milk thistle may not be safe for everyone. Some groups of people should avoid using it, including pregnant or breastfeeding women; children; individuals allergic to plants in the daisy family (Asteraceae/Compositae); those taking medication for medical conditions; people with health issues such as breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer; endometriosis or uterine fibroids, etc.

How Long Does It Take For Milk Thistle To Affect Blood Pressure?

The effects of milk thistle on the body can take from a few weeks to a few months, as individual conditions vary.

Can I Take Milk Thistle With My Blood Pressure Medication?

Milk thistle can interact with many medications, including blood pressure medications. Therefore, if you want to use milk thistle along with blood pressure medication, you should get a diagnosis and approval from your doctor.


Milk thistle, with its main active ingredient, silymarin, has great potential in controlling blood pressure in humans. However, you must remember that milk thistle does not cure high blood pressure. It should only be used as a supplement to a healthy diet, a scientific lifestyle, and following your doctor's treatment guidelines.


  • [1] High Blood Pressure on JSTOR. Published 2024. Accessed June 14, 2024.
  • [2] Diabetes FIP Practice Transformation Programme on NCDs Diabetes Prevention, Screening and Management a Handbook for Pharmacists.; 2021.
  • [3] Bakris GL. The importance of blood pressure control in the patient with diabetes. The American journal of medicine. 2004;116(5):30-38. doi:
  • [4] Atefeh Tajmohammadi, Bibi Marjan Razavi, Hosseinzadeh H. Silybum marianum (milk thistle) and its main constituent, silymarin, as a potential therapeutic plant in metabolic syndrome: A review. PTR Phytotherapy research/Phytotherapy research. 2018;32(10):1933-1949. doi:
  • [5] Jadhav GB, Chandrashekhar Upasani. Antihypertensive effect of Silymarin on DOCA salt induced hypertension in unilateral nephrectomized rats. ResearchGate. Published August 2011. Accessed June 14, 2024.
  • [6] H. Fallah Huseini, B. Larijani, R. Heshmat, et al. The efficacy ofSilybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) in the treatment of type II diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. PTR Phytotherapy research/Phytotherapy research. 2006;20(12):1036-1039. doi:
  • [7] Mohammadi S, Omid Asbaghi, Reza Afrisham, et al. Impacts of Supplementation with Silymarin on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Dose–Response Meta-Analysis. Antioxidants. 2024;13(4):390-390. doi:
  • [8] Ludovico Abenavoli, Capasso R, Milic N, Capasso F. Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future. PTR Phytotherapy research/Phytotherapy research. 2010;24(10):1423-1432. doi:
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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