Milk Thistle Silybum marianum L.

Silybum marianum L.
  • Common Names
  • Milk Thistle Seed
  • Botanical Name
  • Silybum marianum L.
  • Family

Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Milk Thistle Seed

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How to Use: Milk Thistle

Milk thistle can help rehabilitate
the liver in cases of alcohol abuse

This handsome plant has been used for liver ailments for thousands of years, but until recently was one of herbal medicine's best kept secrets. Silymarin, a constituent of milk thistle is now listed in The Mereck Index as a liver protector and actually helps to regenerate liver cells and protects against damage by toxins and viruses. Whole seeds of milk thistle or a tincture made from them are now used in the United States as well as Europe for both protection and regeneration of the liver. Powdered seeds are also available in capsules. A frequent drinker, recovering alcoholic, or anyone taking harsh drugs long term, prescription or otherwise, should take milk thistle extract on a daily basis. 1,2

The German Commission E has approved an extract of 70% silymarin in supporting healthy liver function. Commission E Monographs The Commission has also approved milk thistle in tea from for minor dyspeptic complaints. Milk thistle combines well with dandelion, peppermint or bitters thus combining hepatropic (liver) and choleretic(gallbladder) herbal actions to support better digestion. (Weiss, Rudolf Fritz M.D.)

Preparation Methods & Dosage :tea, alcohol tincture, capsules. Alcohol tinctures allow for a quick release and absorption of silymarin.

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Milk Thistle Remedies

Milk Thistle Side Effects: Milk thistle seed can cause mild diarrhea

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Plant Description

Native to Europe, milk thistle now grows along both coasts of North America where some consider it little more than an invasive weed. The weblike pattern on the surfaces of the leaves distinguish milk thistle from its many thistle cousins. It can grow up to 7 feet tall with white to purple disk flowers. Attractive and edible, milk thistle has earned an honored place in the herbal medicine garden and is cultivated in much of the world for its medicinal seeds.

Regional Traditions :European *

books citedWorks Cited
  1. Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook(2000)
  2. White, Linda B., M.D. "The Herbal Drugstore" (2003)