Important herbs – Milk thistle

Useful herbs – Milk Thistle

Dioscorides, a first century Greek physician, gave milk thistlethe name Silybum marianum. Silybum relates to a number of edible thistles and marianumhonors the symbolic associations to the Virgin Mary. This is one of the important herbs which nature has provided to us. This is one of the herbs, which is used widely in liver disorders. The liver-protective effects were known and written about in ancient times, leading to the active chemical, pharmacological, and safety research beginning in Germany in the 1950s. Clinical use for a variety of liver ailments, such as hepatitis, has also prospered throughout many parts of the world.


Useful herbs - Milk Thistle
Useful herbs – Milk Thistle

The part of the plant used in modern day herbal medicine is the seeds. Good quality seeds are black and shiny. For many centuries extract of this herb is used as a liver tonic. They are taken internally to treat the following:
  • Liver and gall bladder disease.
  • Jaundice.
  • Hepatitis (liver inflammation).
  • Poisoning.
  • High cholesterol levels.
  • Insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have cirrhosis.
  • The growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers.
  • Effects of a hangover.


Useful herbs – legend around Milk thistle

Legend has it that the white mottling of the leaves of milk thistle was caused by a drop of the Virgin Mary’s milk. The plant was traditionally used to stimulate milk production. Its scientific name is Silybum marianumwas a name given to some edible thistles in the first century by a Greek physician, and marianum is a reference to the Virgin Mary legend.

Originating in Kashmir, India milk thistle found its way to Europe during the Middle Ages. Milk thistle was cultivated in European gardens as a vegetable until the end of the 19th century. All parts of the plant were consumed.

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