milk thistle

Asteraceae – Asteraceae (Compositae).

Popular names: sharp-variegated, Mary’s thistle.

Parts Used: Seeds without pappus.

Pharmacy name: milk thistle fruit – Cardui mariae fructus (formerly: Fructus Cardui ma pae).

Botanical description. This is one of the most beautiful and largest thistles. His homeland is the south of Europe, the Caucasus, Asia Minor and Central Asia, North Africa. Spotted milk thistle is easily recognizable by its large green, white marbled, serrated leaves. At the end of the stem are single large spherical inflorescences-baskets of purple-red color. The fruits are achenes with a dense, shiny black skin and a silky flying appendage (pappus catfish), thanks to which they quickly scatter. Blooms in July-August. In Germany, it is specially grown on plantations and in gardens. It often runs wild and is found in warm and dry places, on railway embankments and wastelands.

Collection and preparation. Seeds ripen in August-September. They are collected and thoroughly air dried.

active substances. The presence of the silymarin complex (a mixture of three flavonolignans) determines the healing properties of milk thistle for the liver. In addition, there are bitterness, a little essential oil and resin.

Healing action and application.It is already clear from the composition of the active ingredients that milk thistle is supposed to help restore the functions of a diseased liver. Liver disease is very common. Acute hepatitis (infectious inflammation of the liver), which in most cases is associated with jaundice, occurs in humans as a result of infection. It often leaves severe long-term complications. It is necessary to eat right and avoid alcohol for a certain period until the blood test gives normal results, showing a healthy liver. Overeating and excessive alcohol consumption lead in the bulk of cases to fatty liver, that is, the destruction or cessation of the activity of a large part of its cells. It was in this case that milk thistle proved to be a harmless liver-specific herbal remedy. Its active ingredient silymarin, even at high dosages, is free from side effects and has an extremely good effect on liver recovery. Recent animal experiments have shown that treatment with milk thistle reduces or completely suppresses the effects of irritating and liver-damaging substances. They even experimented with the most dangerous liver poison – the poison of a green fly agaric – the results of the experiment were successful. The obtained results of the research allow no doubt that milk thistle has a protective and regenerating effect on the liver. Although ready-made products are preferred in the majority of cases, for people with a diseased or sensitive liver, a course of treatment with milk thistle tea is very useful. Pain and ailments soon cease and good health is restored. After acute hepatitis, regular intake of milk thistle tea is prescribed as an additional treatment. In recipes for a standard pack of milk thistle seeds, the German National Health Service prescribes its use only for mild digestive disorders.

  • Milk thistle tea: 1 teaspoon of seeds (the same amount of herbs, if you use it) pour 1/4 liter of boiling water, leave for 10-20 minutes and strain. Tea is drunk hot, in small sips, 1 cup in the morning on an empty stomach, half an hour before lunch and in the evening, before going to bed.

Milk thistle tea can be mixed with peppermint tea, not only improving the taste, but in many cases enhancing the effect.

Use in homeopathy. The homeopathic product Carduus marianus is also intended for diseases accompanied by pain in the liver and gallbladder. It is successfully used against inflammation of the gallbladder, headaches in the frontal region, with sciatica, muscular rheumatism and leg ulcers. The agent is used in the form of a pure initial tincture and in a small dilution (D 1 -D 1 ).

Application in folk medicine. The diseases mentioned above are also treated with milk thistle in folk medicine. In addition, it is not often used for the treatment of hard-to-treat leg ulcers, open fractures. Milk thistle tea is often given orally for varicose veins. Open fractures are treated with milk thistle seed powder or wet compresses from their decoction.

Side effects are unknown.

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