Milk thistle: uses, benefits and properties of the Mediterranean herb

Milk thistle is one wild herbaceous plant, similar to the artichoke, and grows spontaneously throughout the Mediterranean area. His use for therapeutic purposes it has been known since ancient times. And recently studies have made it possible to isolate and characterize the precious active ingredients contained above all in the fruit of the milk thistle. For the hepatoprotective properties e detoxifiers it is considered one of the most suitable natural remedies. It is no coincidence that one of its main uses is the preparation of herbal teas to protect and detoxify the liver.

What plant is milk thistle

Milk thistle, scientific name Silybum marianumis a typical plant of the Mediterranean regions and grows spontaneously in almost all climates and latitudes. It is a rustic plant, with an upright and vigorous habit. It grows up to one to one and a half meters tall. It is typically prickly. The leaves are shiny and prickly. The purple-purple flower is prickly, as is the stem. Usually the plant blooms in spring, from April to late May. Instead, after flowering, the fruits appear that ripen in midsummer and from which the seeds are extracted.

The thistle is used little in the kitchen as it does not have much yield. It is, however, one thirst-quenching plant and in spring, when the stem begins to grow, during walks in the countryside the chicory growers usually pick it, peel it and eat it to find refreshment under the sun.

Milk thistle when to take it

Milk thistle is one medicinal plant mainly used for hepatoprotective properties. In fact, a phytocomplex, silymarin, is obtained from the fruits of the milk thistle. This blend of flavonolignans has the ability to:

  • antioxidants
  • anti-inflammatory
  • of liver regeneration.

Uses of milk thistle

This is perhaps the most appreciated function of the milk thistle. The active ingredient contained above all in the flower of the plant, silymarin, stimulates tissue renewal of the liver. For this reason, the milk thistle is rightfully considered a hepatoprotector and as such it is an excellent and effective ally for:

  • Increase the active protection capacity of the liver from toxic substances such as drugs, alcohol or smoke.
  • Accelerate the regeneration rate of liver cells.

Furthermore, it helps in digestion problems that depend on the liver, therefore dyspepsia and intestinal pains. Present in almost all specific purification supplements, it is recommended to use milk thistle to face the changes of season, in order to eliminate the toxins accumulated in winter and summer.

It also has galactogenic propertiesthat is, it stimulates the production of mother’s milk.

How to prepare herbal tea

Milk thistle seed tea has antioxidant and protective effects on the liver. The seeds are boiled in water for about 10 minutes and left to infuse, with the heat off, for another 5-10 minutes. One tablespoon of seeds per cup (250 ml) is sufficient. More than a herbal tea, it is actually a decoction of milk thistle. Since the seed is a tough drug, this technique is best suited.

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