Ever come across a thorny yet fragrant plant with lovely purple flowers oozing milky white liquid? Milk Thistle, which goes by the scientific name Silybum marianum is a healing herb, that gets its unique name because of the milky-white liquid coming from its leaves when crushed. The plant also known as St. Mary’s thistle, Holy thistle, and Silybum has been used for over two thousand years owing to the amazing holistic benefits it provides to mankind. 
milk thistle

Circa 40 A.D. Greek physicians were the first to describe milk thistle’s healing properties. The plant’s green leaves also contain a spotted white pattern that gives an impression as if they have been dunked in milk. Found in the United States, Africa, Australia, and parts of Asia, it is considered one of the most common natural supplements for curing liver disorders. The herb is also commonly used for aiding weight loss, enhancing skin health, and promoting breast milk production.

Also Read: Milk Thistle: 5 Incredible Health Benefits Of The Thorny Herb

Powerful Therapeutic Attributes Of Milk Thistle 

Primarily, native to the Mediterranean part of the world, milk thistle is a member of the Asteraceae plant family. This family also includes other plant varieties such as sunflowers and daisy flowering plants. This herb has the following potential therapeutic qualities that can cure several illnesses.

Hepatic: Across the globe, milk thistle herb has been used for centuries to cure liver problems because the herb has various hepatic benefits implying that it can cure all kinds of minor to major liver disorders

Galactagogue: A herb is known to be a powerful galactagogue which means it has powerful substances and components that can induce and promote lactation in humans as well as in animals.

Demulcent: Demulcent property of any herb forms a soothing protective film over the body’s mucous membrane. Thus, coating the skin surface helps in protecting the underlying cells and alleviates minor pain and inflammation.

Cholagogue: Milk thistle acts as a cholagogue agent in the body. The term implies that it can promote the actual flow of bile from your gallbladder into the duodenum. This ability of milk thistle to increase bile flow protects the liver against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and reverses toxicity in the body, including the harmful effects of alcohol consumption.

Antioxidant: A great source of the flavonoid called silymarin, this antioxidant encompasses several other active compounds known as flavonolignans which stimulate protein synthesis and safeguards the outside layer of healthy cells from damage and mutation. This can help in slowing the aging process. 

Also Read: Liver Health: 5 Superb Foods That Helps To Boost Liver Function-Infographic

Liver Health Benefits Of  Milk Thistle 

The most powerful active substance in milk thistle is silymarin which is well-known for being a natural liver supporter by rebuilding liver cells and reducing chronic liver damage. It can also help to protect liver cells against mutation and protect against liver issues such as:

  • Biliary Atresia
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Jaundice
  • Gall bladder issues
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Toxin-induced liver diseases

How To Use Milk Thistle Herb?

There are many ways to consume this powerful herb. The seeds and leaves of the milk thistle plant can be consumed either as an herbal supplement powder or tincture or it can be sipped as herbal tea. The seeds can be eaten raw, but an extract or supplement is generally the preferred way to consume it. If you are starting to take it as a supplement, make sure the product has about 75 to 80 percent pure milk thistle extract. Consult your healthcare provider before starting milk thistle supplementation. 

In case you are wondering what else can you do with its extracts; we bring you two simple recipes:

Milk Thistle Pesto


1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup milk thistle seeds

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Roast milk thistle seeds over medium heat until they become light golden

Transfer them to a food processor

Add the fresh basil leaves, garlic bulbs, and cheese to the food processor

Process the ingredients until they form a coarse paste

Add the extra virgin olive oil to the processor and let it form a smooth consistency

Season with salt and pepper

Transfer the milk thistle pesto to a glass jar and refrigerate it 

Use this milk thistle pesto as a spread on toast, as a sauce for a delicious topping

Consume it within five to seven days for the best taste


Loaded with the potential health benefits of milk thistle the pesto has all essential minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride that will fortify bone health, and liver health besides protecting the body against oxidative damage.

Milk Thistle Tea


1 tablespoon milk thistle seeds

2 cups water

Honey or drops of lemon juice (Optional)


Crush the milk thistle seeds in a grinder

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pan

Add the crushed seeds to the boiling water

Let it simmer for about five to ten minutes 

Strain the tea

Add honey or lemon for enhancing its taste

Enjoy your milk thistle tea!


Milk thistle tea has potential liver-supporting properties and is super rich in antioxidants. It has a similar antioxidant content to green tea. However, consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your routine, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are under a certain medication.  

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