Carduus marianus | Hypertrophy of Left Liver Lobe

Carduus marianus | Hypertrophy of Left Liver Lobe

“Certain remedies have very limited special spheres of influence and our power to cure diseases is largely conditioned by our knowledge of such spheres.  I am increasingly impressed with the importance of knowing where the remedy acts by special elective affinity.”

Burnett J. C., The Diseases of the Liver

This article will show the homeopathic value of Carduus marianus in the treatment of liver affections. Small remedy it is but has irreplaceable importance in homeopathy, mostly as organ remedy for cases of enlarged left lobe of the liver.

Latin: Sylibum marianum

Common: St. Mary’s Thistle, Mediterranean Milk Thistle, Blessed Thistle


Carduus marianus acts specifically on the liver and the spleen, naturally influencing the vein circulation and blood stasis. It reveals many symptoms in the stomach, marked with increased acidity, dull concomitant headache and vomiting of acrid bile and blood.

Chronic enlargement of liver and spleen, gastro-intestinal catarrh, hemorrhoids, hemorrhages, varicose veins and  ulcers, hepatitis, jaundice, congestion of portal circulation of the abdomen – these are the main affections cured by this remedy.

Dr Burnett marks in his ‘The Diseases of the Liver’, that the enlargement of the liver pointing to Carduus marianus is in the transverse direction (unlike to Chelidonium majus – where it is in vertical).

The remedy is closely related to Bryonia, Podophyllum, Leptandra and Chelidonium majus.

Characteristic Symptoms of Carduus marianus

The symptoms in the head are due to congestion of blood. Mostly this is felt by the patients as band or hoop constricted around the head; fullness, heaviness, dull pressing pain in the forehead above the eyes and in occiput. All symptoms in head are worse by exposure to draft or open cold air.

The tongue is coated in white, as a stripe along the center while its sides and tip are red. Sometimes patients have sensation that the tongue is enlarged.

There is increased acidity in the stomach. Empty eructations, heartburn and nausea; vomiting of bile (green fluid), followed by burning, stitching, sore pains in the stomach. Much distension and turbulence in the bowels, revealed by sharp wandering colic pains and stitching in the abdomen.

Terrible attacks of gall-stone colic; as it is well known, the formation of bile is performed in the liver. Patients experience pain on the right, bellow the last ribs in the region of the liver; the taste in mouth is bad and the skin is yellow-coloured. The gall-bladder is enlarged and tender; the region of the liver is uncomfortable and there is sensation of fullness. The stools have the color of clay, and often constipation and diarrhea alternate.

Carduus marianus is indicated in cirrhosis of the liver.

The complaints are aggravated by lying on the right side, and on stooping, which causes stitches on the right bellow ribs; worse from motion and pressure on the affected part. Better from sitting up in bed; and from lying on the unaffected side.

Positive Homeopathic Experience

Dr Burnett quotes case of complete convalescence of a young girl of 16, after enlargement of liver and spleen, by administering mother tincture of Carduus marianus (diluted in water) to the patient. The homeopathic mother tincture was prepared by the seeds of the plant.

The prominent characteristics of the disease were:

‘Liver and spleen very much enlarged so that they seem to fill the abdomen’ – which was discovered at the physical examination of the two hypochondria. Severe attacks of vomiting for three months; the sleep early in the morning was interrupted by imminent need to vomit. Carduus marianus after five weeks completely cured the patient.

J.C. Burnett, ‘The Diseases of the Liver’

Eruptions on the Skin Covering the Sternum

Dr Burnett again is mentioning the seemingly connection between the enlargement of the left liver lobe with the cutaneous surface of sternum. He gives details of some cases of Carduus marianus, where he noticed brownish eruption on the sternum, accompanied by cardiac palpitation and enlarged liver. The treatment with Carduus marianus was beneficial for those patients.

Bibliography: J.C. Burnett, E.M. Hale, C.M. Boger, A. Von Lippe