If you accidentally eat poison mushrooms, doctors do not have a generally accepted method for treating your condition. Often, that kind of poisoning attacks the liver and leads to a form of acute hepatitis. Many victims eventually need a liver transplant.
But new research is investigating the possibility that natural chemicals in milk thistle can help treat these episodes. An extract of milk thistle seeds called silibinin is being studied to analyze its effects. So far, the substance seems to have helped four people recover from mushroom poisoning. But because silibinin is being researched in a clinical study, it is not yet available for general use.
“While these results appear promising, we need to know much more about silibinin, such as the timing for delivering it, what dose is most effective and whether or not a nasobiliary drainage (to clear poison from the liver) is… necessary in combination with silibinin,” explains Jacqueline Laurin, M.D., a transplant hepatologist at the Georgetown Transplant Institute in Washington, D.C. “I think we can point to this case series as a treatment success, but clearly more work and education needs to be done to reduce morbidity and death from amanitin (mushroom) poisoning.”
While many traditional herbalists use the herb milk thistle to help support the health of the liver, this has not yet been an accepted practice by mainstream medicine.