Herbal Supplements
Milk Thistle: Plant Description

We got used to the statement that the Chinese are the most experienced and wise herbalists. Traditional Chinese medicine is and has always been treated as the most reliable and effective means for curing almost all diseases known to the human kind.

Surprisingly, the herb milk thistle is far more popular and well-known in the Old World. Europeans have developed ancient traditions of using milk thistle both in medicine and as a vegetable.

The matter is that Silybum marianum (the botanical name for milk thistle) is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. It is a sort of thistles from the genus Silybum Adans. Sometimes people treat the plant as a weed, which, however, is the potent medicinal herb.

Milk thistle (other names are Holy thistle, Marian Thistle, Our Lady's thistle, Wild Artichoke) is a tall plant (generally 2-5 feet high, sometimes Ė up to 10 feet) with an erect, branched and furrowed but not spiny stem. It has large, thorny green root-leaves, which are attached to the stem without petiole; the upper leaves have a clasping base.

The characteristic feature of the plantís leaves is that they have milk-white veins. The ancient legend says that it was Virgin Maryís milk that dropped onto the leaves and left white traces. That is why people believe that the herb has lactation improving abilities, therefore, is good for use by nursing mothers.

The flowers of milk thistle are red-purple and spiky; the small black shiny seeds are crowned with feathery tufts, which make it easy for the plant to spread in a field or a garden. Each flower-head produces about 190 seeds, harvested mostly in July or August. They remain viable for 9 (!) years.

The plant prefers well-drained soils and much sunlight, though it can also stand harsher conditions. Strange as it may seem, milk thistle needs some cold temperatures to produce more flowers; therefore, European climate is perfect for it.

For more than two thousand years milk thistle has been cultivated throughout Europe, but it was always especially popular in Greece, Italy, and Germany. Our ancestors used this herb for treating liver, kidney, spleen, and gallbladder diseases. They also healed serpents bites and mushroom poisoning with the plant preparations. Moreover, the tinctures were applied externally to the liver area to promote its protection and to the skin surface for relieving skin conditions.

Usually teas and tinctures were made of milk thistle seeds (when roasted they were used as coffee substitutes), but the whole plant was consumed as a vegetable: young stems and leaves were either boiled or eaten raw as salads.

During the last years the use of milk thistle is tested by multiple scientific studies, conducted mainly in Germany. The German Health Authorities (equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) founded a special Commission E, which is supposed to develop the rules (dosages, indications, and contraindications) of milk thistle preparations usage to promote the best health benefits.

Nowadays the plant becomes more familiar to the American consumers, too, gaining their confidence and trust in its power and health benefits. Since milk thistle is easy to grow, it is already cultivated in many states throughout the country.

More About Milk Thistle...

Scientific Trials on Milk Thistle

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Power of Milk Thistle

The plant we know as the milk thistle grows wild all around the world, including many parts of North America. For centuries, the milk thistle plant ...

Milk Thistle Benefits

Milk thistle has a reputation of the weed among some people. No wonder: its leaves and flowers resemble those of an ordinary thistle and its habit of ...

Conditions...
Testimonials
Leaves
2012-04-13 19:22:16
Hey if you want to use the Milk Thistle in your garden/field just put some decent gloves on and take some scissors and cut the flowers that have finished off. You will know the seeds are good to go when the artichoke looking parts become swollen. Use a knife to cut the artichoke in half and you will see the seeds in the center. I hope this helps the green cadets.
As I Am
2011-10-08 09:24:29
Does Milk Thistle ,being a detoxifier,render medicines that I may be taking to be ineffective?
Milk Thistle - Lorene
2011-07-21 21:36:26
I have some big Milk Thistle Plants in my garden, but I don't know how to use thenm with all the prickers on them. How do I prosess them? Lorene
Julian
2011-03-02 19:10:55
Does Milk Thistle have salicylates in it?
mariann jung
2010-09-25 09:58:49
I have a milk thistle plant growing, and need to know how I can use it instead of the supplement i'm now taking. do i make tea, how many leaves do i use, how much do i drink and how often. thanks gfjmj@verizon.net
lon leng
2010-06-26 09:11:45
We used to pick it wild and we would cook and eat the stems directly under the small artichoke like flower pods.
velvet
2010-05-04 14:36:04
Can someone please let me know
What is the best way to use the plant and how to prepare the plant to eat it ? also what part can be made to a tea?
Thank you
sabir
2010-03-22 15:01:03
it is very use full for hepatitus b n c
SCOTTY312
2010-01-04 18:12:20
Try a product called PROTANDIM. I have used it since 2005. Let me say this about Milk Thistle...back in 98-99 I heard about how it almost cured liver disease..It greatly reduced my drug induced hepatitis. The avg serving is 650mg, I think 1 or 2. If you are looking for medical level benefits, try 3@ 650mg or more!
DAT
2009-12-24 15:48:04
I have been interested in herbs both Chinese and Western for a couple of years.

I have been trying the Milk Thistle, before this I was trying Tumeric in the summer hear in S. Oregon, it shares many properties with Tumeric, and as I have allot of wind heat it has been very helpful it has been very helpful in dispersing wind heat in the liver/gb.

For males with this potential condition it is helpful combining it with Saw palmetto, Jiao Gui Lan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), and or Eleutherococcus senticosus boiled with an equal amount (3-4) organic figs and or organic raisins.

The Milk Thistle is a strong anti inflammatory which cools the liver (wood), Saw Palmetto cools the urinary tract/Kidney (water), Jiao Gui Lan/Eleuthro lower blood pressure (wind/fire), and the fruit keeps things lubricated and moistened.
lorenz
2009-06-19 10:29:35
I am here in the British Virgin Island, where can I order this Milk Thistle.
lc
2008-04-16 17:16:47
This herb has helped my liver stay normal, from having hepatitis.
TKay
2007-07-01 07:03:27
I started using milk thistle straight from the plant on warts I have on my hands adn it worked wonders!
Mush
2006-08-22 20:10:05

I have just recently started using the Bath and Body Works Milk Thistle face creme, and i've gotta say that it is wonderful. It is light, hydrating, and not in any way greasy.
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More About Milk Thistle...

Scientific Trials on Milk Thistle

Herbal remedies, used for healing humans from various diseases, were in great favor with people in ...

Power of Milk Thistle

The plant we know as the milk thistle grows wild all around the world, including many parts of ...

Milk Thistle Benefits

Milk thistle has a reputation of the weed among some people. No wonder: its leaves and flowers ...

Conditions...
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