Research indicates that Milk Thistle Extract is effective to reduce inflammation from osteoarthritis
We've always been taught that Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune, inflammatory condition, whereas Osteoarthritis is simply a matter of wear and tear. But recent research is showing that the "feed-forward" nature of inflammation that spreads around in the body, and activates the immune system, may be just as much to blame for attacking the joints in osteoarthritis as in rheumatoid. Further, a seemingly unlikely candidate to provide assistance for this is the active flavonoids in Milk Thistle, known collectively as Silymarin.
Though Milk Thistle and Silymarin are generally considered for liver rescue and protection, Silymarin is apparently effective at reducing and attenuating the effects of a large range of inflammatory mediators including inflammatory interleukins, complement proteins, NfKb, Cox-2/PgE2, etc.
Though some of these anti-inflammatory effects are direct, several may also be secondary, i.e. simply the result of Milk Thistle's ability to facilitate better liver function, thereby reducing the amount of oxidation and free-radicals produced by the enzymes responsible for its detoxification reactions. (In other words, an overworked liver can cause a lot of inflammation, and milk thistle extract helps make its detox smoother and more efficient!)
In addition to reducing inflammation, Milk Thistle has the added benefit of protecting your body and organs, (particularly the liver and kidneys) from the deleterious side effects of NSAIDS, (such as aspirin or ibuprofen), that so many osteoarthritis sufferers use to reduce pain. Silymarin also appears to work synergistically with these drugs heightening their anti-inflammatory effects. (Though my personal advice if you were going to use both would be to take them at least an hour apart.)
300mg of Silymarin daily was the dosage used in 2 of the following studies, and this is not a particularly high dose. Two capsules of a 250mg Milk Thistle, standardized to 80% silymarin gives you 400mg, and this could easily be taken twice per day.
Note that due to silymarin's supportive effects on the liver, this may speed up how quickly drugs are cleared from the blood stream. So, if you are taking medication where the dose needs to be monitored closely then be sure to check with your physician or healthcare professional before embarking.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.