7 Remarkable Benefits of Milk Thistle – How To Grow, Harvest & Use It
7 Remarkable Benefits of Milk Thistle – How To Grow, Harvest & Use It
(7 Remarkable Benefits of Milk Thistle – How To Grow, Harvest & Use It)
Milk thistle has been used for too long.
It’s a natural remedy for numerous ailments, and people like to use milk thistle for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. History shows that even Dioscorides used it.
Milk thistle is native to the Mediterranean region, but it also grows in California. It can grow in other parts of the world, and like warm, dry climate. Milk thistle got his name from its milky white sap.
We use it as an extract and supplement.
This plant is more than a pesky weed that grows in your backyard. Milk thistle is a hepatic, galactagogue, demulcent and cholagogue herb. It supports the formation of enzymes and bile, and thus enhances digestion.
Experts have shown that it reduces inflammation and soothes mucous membranes.
It’s the greatest liver tonic you will ever get. The active compound in milk thistle, silymarin, is an flavonoid that repairs liver cells affected by toxins. Silymarin protects liver cells from toxic substances.
Milk thistle optimizes the function of your liver, and it’s used in the treatment of cirrhosis, chronic liver inflammation caused by alcohol and unhealthy diet.
Grow milk thistles in your home
It’s one of the greatest plants you will ever grow. It reaches up to 3-4 feet, and grows glossy leaves and purple flowers. You can eat all parts of the plant, but silymarin is only concentrated in the seeds.
Plant milk thistle seeds after the last frost of spring. Sow the tiny seeds at a shallow depth (1/8 of an inch). Plant in groups of 3-4 seeds, and make sure they have enough space to grow (30-36 inches).
Milk thistle needs sunny and lightly shaded spots. It tolerates any type of soil. The seeds germinate at 54-59 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t need any hard prepping, as the seeds will thrive in any soil. If the plant becomes too weedy, deadhead the flowers.
Milk thistle flowers contain 190 seeds, and you get about 6,350 seeds per plant. Harvest your seeds in time, otherwise they will break on their own. Collect the seeds before the plant matures.
Always use thick gardening gloves when handling milk thistles, as they are pretty thorny. The spikes can prick your skin and hurt you. Watch for any flowers that begin to dry out and produce the distinctive silvery-white seed head (pappus). Seed production takes place in fall, but plants mature at different times.
1. Cut off the blossoms when they are dry.
2. Put the flower heads in paper bags, and store these in a warm spot. Let them dry completely, and you will need about 5-7 days.
3. Transfer dry flower heads into a burlap sack. Shake the bag, and press it with your hands to separate the heads.
4. Transfer the seeds into a bucket, and blow away any “unwanted stuff.”
5. Keep your seeds in airtight containers in a dark and cool place.
1. Liver support
Milk thistle optimizes liver function. Your liver performs numerous essential functions, and protect the body from toxins, medications, and chemicals. It is your body’s natural filter. Your liver enhances the production of hormones, and releases glucose in the bloodstream, making sure you get enough energy.
It also cleanses the body and releases bile into your small intestine to absorb fat from food.
This plant supports the formation of new cells, and reverses harmful effects of pesticides, heavy metals, pollution, and alcohol. Science has confirmed that mil thistle can aid in the treatment of fatty liver syndrome, psoriasis, jaundice, hepatitis, alcoholism-relates issues, etc.
Milk thistle stimulate cell regeneration in kidneys, and may aid patients on dialysis.
3. High cholesterol
Milk thistle is an excellent anti-inflammatory plant. It halts inflammation, and we all know that inflammation is a primary cause of heart issues. Milk thistle lowers cholesterol levels, and boosts good or HDL cholesterol. It prevents oxidative stress. A 2006 research has found that the combination of silymarin and traditional remedies lower LDL cholesterol, and “fixes” triglycerides.
Silymarin improves glycemic profile within 4 months, as confirmed in a 2006 study. It also reduces glycosylated hemoglobin, fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Liver regulates hormones, and the production of insulin. So, silymarin and traditional remedies can help you control diabetes.
More than 20 million people deal with gallstones each year, and most of them are not even aware of their condition. Should we say that gallstones can lead to death? These stones cause crippling pain that lasts for a few minutes or hours.
The pain radiates from the abdomen to the chest, back, and the area between the shoulder blades. It’s followed by gas, heartburn and indigestion.
Your liver, kidneys, intestines, gallbladder and pancreas work together, which means that milk thistle can prevent the formation of stones. It optimizes the function of your gastrointestinal and endocrine system by supporting enzymes and bile.
It also purifies blood. Milk thistle eliminates metabolic waste, and boosts the function of your gallbladder, spleen and kidneys.
Scientists at the NYU Langone Medical Center have found that milk thistle stimulates gallbladder contractions, and thus reduces the risk of gallstones.
Milk thistle provides excellent anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, demulcent and antioxidant properties. It will improve your skin complexion and make you look younger. It erases the first signs of aging, and prevents the formation of dark spots, lines, wrinkles and discoloration. Phytochemicals inhibit UV light-induced oxidative stress.
You all know that it causes skin cancer.
Apply silymarin on your skin to reduce damages caused by radiation treatments. A study conducted at the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Department of Dermatology found that milk thistle extract lessens the damage of UV light exposure.
Milk thistle prevents premature aging, and its antioxidants prevent free radical damage. It removes toxic pollutants and waste from the body, and reduces the risk of serious disorders like diabetes, heart disease, kidney/liver damage, premature aging of skin, vision issues, and cancer.
How to use milk thistle
It’s the easiest way to use milk thistles. Buy it from your local healthy food store or just wait for the harvest season to start. Steep leaves and seeds in hot, almost boiling water.
If you grow your own milk thistles, crush the seeds and leaves, and make yourself a nice cup of tea. Put them in a muslin bag, and steep for 5 minutes. Sweeten with honey.
Crush the seeds into fine powder, and add it to your salads, soups or burgers.
Add milk thistle stalks, flowers, leaves and roots to your salad. You can also cook these.
Add ground milk thistle seeds to your smoothie, but make sure you soak them in water overnight. Add lemon juice and chopped lyceum berries. Blend until smooth.
Eat milk thistle seeds as a snack. Keep these in your freezer to enjoy them for longer.