Latin name: Silybum marianum
Common name(s): Blessed Thistle, Our Lady’s Thistle, Marian Thistle
Milk Thistle is very useful for its abilities to block allergic reactions and inflammatory reactions. Milk thistle works to increase the immune system to help expel infections and relieve inflamed tissues in the human body. Milk Thistle is an anti-oxidant which helps to inhibit free radical scavengers in the body. It is great for the treatment of jaundice and gallbladder diseases as well.
It helps to protect the kidneys and it also works great in the healing and relief of psoriasis. Milk Thistle is a bitter diuretic herb that stimulates the production of milk in nursing mothers and it stimulates bile flow. It can be used to minimize chemotherapy side effects in people who are affected by cancer. The flower buds of Milk Thistle can be eaten like mini artichokes.
You can remove the spines from young leaves of Milk Thistle and eat them raw or cooked. Extract of Milk Thistle reduces the effects of many toxins in the liver and maintain overall health of the liver. It also stimulates the synthesis of RNA molecules which are very important molecules that help to carry out and control the synthesis of protein in the liver according to ‘Herbal Medicine’ by Diane Dincin Buchman.
Milk Thistle is a cholagogue, demulcent, galactagogue, hepatic, nervine, stimulant and tonic. The parts of the plant that are used in herbal healing are the buds, flowers, leaves and ripe seeds. Milk Thistle is an excellent rejuvenator and protectant for the liver. Extract of Milk Thistle has been used in the reversal of acute and chronic liver problems.
Milk Thistle is a annual or biennial that is stout and has a basal rosette that is white marbled in color and ovate leaves that are deeply lobed that have spiny margins. In the summer it blooms purple thistle like flowers which have spiny bracts these are then followed by black seeds. Each seed has a tuft of white hairs.
The plants are cut when flowers are in bloom and seeds are harvested when they ripe then dried for use in infusion, teas, tinctures, tonics and also for the extraction of silymarin. Milk Thistles relaxes spasms and increases the production of T-lymphocytes and interferon which aids the immune system.
Milk Thistle can be used to treat any of the following:
Alcoholism, appetite stimulant, boils, cancer, cholera, cirrhosis, convulsions, delirium, depression, epilepsy, fatty deposits, gallbladder, gas, heartburn, heart problems, hemorrhage, hepatitis, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, indigestion, jaundice, kidney congestion, liver congestion, liver damage, nervous conditions, promotes lactation, protects against chemotherapy, radiation, skin disease, snake bites, spleen congestion, suppresses menstruation, toxic poisons and varicose veins.