Organic Emily

Medicinal Herb – Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle

Post written June 19, 2018

Milk Thistle – Silybum marianum

I know what you’re thinking… that’s a weed! Well, yes to some people, but most weeds really are plants we don’t fully understand yet. I’m not promoting a practice of growing noxious weeds so please don’t shoot the messenger ;) . Milk Thistle is an annual or biennial depending on the conditions it grows in. It can produce up to 200 seeds per flower. The seed is the medicine you want so if that is why you’re growing it, it isn’t too difficult to control. Last year I took all the seed I grew except for the little guy in the picture below that came up on its own. You can determine the difference between this thistle and others by its white veined spots on the leaves that look like they’ve been painted with milk.

Milk thistle is the best known liver restorative there is. It strengthens, tones and protects the liver incredibly well! It is used in most herbal liver formulas from jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis and even eczema/psoriasis. Milk thistle helps the body to produce more glutathione which helps the liver detox harmful substances.

Dr. Christopher was an herbalist who has since passed away who shared a story of a farmer who had a horse that got into hounds tongue, a noxious and poisonous weed. The doctor gave the horse milk weed to protect its liver as it passed through its system and the horse lived. That wasn’t always the case for horses who got into those plants. Its benefits are so well known it is given to patients who have undergone liver transplants, chemotherapy and those who have been poisoned by taking too much Tylenol (also a dangerous substance that doesn’t allow your body to produce glutathione). Milk thistle also contains anti-oxidants, is an anti-inflammatory, is used for fighting infections concerning the liver like hepatitis and cirrhosis. Studies have shown that long term use lowers insulin levels making it a great herb for diabetics as well as the growth of certain cancer cells.

So what do you think of this little plant now? Pretty amazing right? There are no contraindications so it’s perfectly safe to take anytime.

Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, Mom of 4 cute kids, Yoga instructor and very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients and her escapades as the keeper of both backyard chickens and honeybees!

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