Current research status on the treatment of veisalgia using Silybum marianum




Powell, Jake
Tran, Apollo
Nguyen, Thuy


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Background. There is abundant anecdotal evidence for products claiming to reduce veisalgia after alcohol consumption. Among these products is milk thistle (Silybum marianum), a plant that has been widely touted for its hepatoprotective properties against toxins such as alcohol, venom and plant poisons. Companies commonly promote the use of milk thistle proactively and/or actively as a treatment to attenuate symptoms of veisalgia. However, none of these claims are substantiated by research. Purpose. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the current state of the literature concerning the use of milk thistle for treating veisalgia. The supplement is commercially promoted as a cure for hangovers and we aim to assess the validity of these claims. Methods. We completed a literature search on milk thistle and veisalgia using Medline, Scopus, and Excerpta Medica Database (EMBASE). Because there are currently no studies directly linking milk thistle with hangovers, we identified the main pathophysiological pathways implicated with veisalgia to cross examine the validity of using milk thistle for treatment. Results. No studies directly examined the treatment of veisalgia with milk thistle. However, several studies demonstrated milk thistle to have antioxidant and antitoxin effects in the liver, small intestine, and stomach. Animal studies have found that milk thistle may contribute to hepatocyte regeneration and reduce inflammatory processes. Multiple clinical trials using milk thistle as treatment for a variety of liver diseases suggest that milk thistle may be a viable and biologically active supplement. However, most clinical trials assessed milk thistle’s effects on liver related diseases such as hepatitis. Conclusions. Veisalgia is a multifactorial pathological state that has been implicated with liver damage and inflammation. Milk thistle has been found to provide benefits for a variety of liver diseases, which share several pathophysiological processes that cause veisalgia. Based on this evidence it is possible that milk thistle could be effective in alleviating veisalgia symptoms in common with liver disease. However, there is not enough evidence in the current literature to definitively indicate milk thistle for the treatment of veisalgia.