Milk thistle

Wild Roots: Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)

Milk Thistle, also known as St Mary Thistle, Holy Thistle, Marian and Scotch Thistle is a purple flowering plant used for thousands of years to treat a variety of complaints. These days the plant is most widely used in Europe and the U.S. for liver support— increasing overall liver function and stimulating the growth of liver cells.

It has been used to treat conditions including cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice and gallbladder disorders, high cholesterol, asthma, and several types of cancer such as prostate, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. For 20 years an intravenous preparation made by Legalon, a small company in Germany, has used the seeds of the milk thistle plant to treat victims of the deadly DEATH CAP mushroom.

The FDA approval for milk thistle in the US is still being studied. In one case in California where a family was accidentally poisoned, a physician obtained emergency approval to use IV silibinin made from milk thistle seeds and he saved the lives of the entire family, except the grandmother. His treatment is now called The Santa Cruz Protocol. Perhaps someday soon it will be on hand in all US emergency rooms as wildcrafting is becoming increasingly popular in our country.

Milk Thistle seed extract can be purchased in capsules of 350 mg. for daily use. My favorite brand Simple Truth is non-GMO, vegan-friendly and can be ordered in bulk from your favorite online herb markets such as Mountain Rose or I use a teaspoon of the ground herb when making my daily cup of Wonder Woman-type tea, as an antioxidant and daily cleanser to support energy and liver health. Occasionally I’ll buy a tasty tincture from Bear Creek Herbs when I travel. When your liver is happy, so is the rest of your body.

Some people swear that milk thistle can cure a hangover, but you will have to be the judge of that.

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