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Plant Information

Common Name: THISTLE - MILK
Scientific Name: Silybum marianum
Alternative Names: Blessed Thistle, St. Mary's Thistle

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Silybum marianum
Silybum marianum
Silybum marianum
Silybum marianum


  • Biennial
  • Milk thistle is native to SW Europe, S Russia and N Africa.
  • It is a biennial herb that can grows up to 2m, bearing dark green leaves mottled with white along the veins and with toothed, spiny margins.
  • Numerouw purple florets are borne in large, spiny heads.
  • The fruits are brown to blackish.
  • It needs neutral to alkaline soil in sun.
  • Seeds can be sown in autumn.

Culinary Uses

  • Harvest young leaves, buds and roots when tender and use fresh
  • Boil flower heads like artichoke
  • Cook leaves like spinach
  • Peel roots and stalks and stir fry

Parts Used

  • Roots, seeds, leaves, flowers

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Liver protector - help against gall bladder disease, cirrhoses, infections, hepatitis, jaundice, poison and drug and alcohol abuse
  • Counters ingestion of toxic substances like paraffin
  • Silymarin - stimulates liver repair
  • Scavenges free radicals - prevent toxins from entering liver cells
  • Milk thistle therapy resulted in decline of fatal mushroom poisoning
  • Minimize side effects of cancer therapy
  • Bitter digestive and diuretic tonic herb
  • Stimulates bile flow, increases milk flow production, relaxes spasms
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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