MILK THISTLE: An Important Herb for Health

Milk Thistle

“It is a Friend to the Liver and Blood: the prickles cut off, they were formerly used to be boiled in the Spring and eaten with other herbs; but as the World decays, so doth the Use of good old things and others more delicate and less virtuous brought in.”

William Westmacott, Herbalist, 1694

Milk Thistle, also known by its botanical name Silybum Marianum, is an important herb for improved health. I consider it another MUST HAVE herb in my pantry. It is one my first GO TO herbs when I feel my health is off.

Milk Thistle is seldom considered worthy of a place in the garden. The tall weed like plant is native to the Mediterranean and grows wild throughout Europe.  It is often found in ditches, and growing in cracks along foundations and parking lots. It is also naturalized in California, Australia and other countries. Plant identification is a skill. If you are using the herb medicinally, I recommend that you buy it from a reputable, knowledgeable supplier.

“GOD made the earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent man should not neglect”.

Ecclesiastes 38:4

 Milk thistle herb benefits and conditions it helps:

  • Jaundice
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver ailments
  • Liver protection from alcohol, poisons, toxins
  • Detoxifier
  • Pleurisy
  • Cancer
  • Blood cleanser
  • Lymphatic system
  • Stimulates bile secretion
  • Gall stones
  • Increases breast milk production
  • Antidepressant

How to use the herb:

Young milk thistle leaves have traditionally been eaten as a tonic in the spring. The best way to use cleavers is to brew a small amount in boiled water. I use ¼ tsp of dried cleavers with ¼ tsp of dried milk thistle to 16 ounces of water and drink this over the period of an hour.

If you do not like the taste; steep it in a smaller amount of water (4 ounces) and let it cool. Drink it quickly and follow with a glass of water or other tea you enjoy. To make it more enjoyable consider adding a flavoured tea like peppermint or black currant tea to the milk thistle.

Milk thistle is an ingredient in my BOTANICAL SPA THERAPY HERBAL BATH TEAS.

 Essential Cleanse 2

I include many health promoting strategies and a complete list of super foods to stock your pantry and refrigerator in my book THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION.

 Ebook Cover New_1-1

For more of my ‘how to become well’ books visit my book page at

ENJOY better health today!


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Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner,


The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants: A Practical Reference Guide to over 550 Key Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses by Andrew Chevallier

Copyright © 2013, Elisabeth Hines

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