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Milk thistle (Silybum marianum syn. Carduus marianus)

Milk thistle


Antispasmodic, bilious, regenerating, liver-protective, germicidal, blood pressure-increasing, astringent, calming

Areas of application:

Poisoning, inflammation of the liver, cold-blooded viruses, cirrhosis of the liver, fatty liver, detoxifies the liver, congestion of gallbladder, inflammation of the gallbladder, light-colored stools, spleen problems, congestion in the legs, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, alcohol, increases milk flow in breastfeeding mothers, allergy sufferers, low blood pressure, dizziness, Migraines, circulatory problems in the legs, lowers high cholesterol levels, poisoning by amanita mushrooms

Plant parts used:

young leaves, seeds

Collection time:

June to September

To find:

in barren meadows, on sandy embankments, between scree, from southern Europe and southern North America


Silibinin, silydianin, silychristin, flavonoids, histamine, protein, fatty oil, essential oil


☕ Tea: Crush 2 teaspoons of seeds, pour 1/4 liter of cold water over them, let it steep briefly and then boil or pour 1/4 liter of boiling water over it and let it steep for 10 minutes. You drink 3 cups of both types of treatment per day, in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening after eating. The tea is a bit greasy.

Milk thistle is an annual or biennial plant and grows to a height of 60 to 180 cm. The glossy green leaves are oblong or lance-shaped with a pronounced white marbling. They can be either lobed or pinnate and are hairless, have spiny edges and white veins. The stem is grooved and in large plants it is hollow inside. The reddish-purple flowers appear from June to August. They have a diameter of 2.5 to 12.5 cm.

🛑 You should avoid milk thistle during pregnancy. Women with estrogen-related diseases and endometriosis, fibroids and cancers of the ovaries, breast or uterus should not use the plant. Do not use the plant if you are allergic to daisy plants.

A good liver tea is made from a mixture (equal parts) of chicory, dandelion and milk thistle. Mixtures with peppermint are also common.

Other liver plants include Benedict thistle, fennel and fumitory, all of which go well with milk thistle. You should also combine it with the fresh plant juice of the artichoke.

As Carduus marianus, the plant was considered a magical remedy against poisoning in France in the 16th century.

All parts of the plant are edible, the root tastes similar to parsnips.

Hildegard von Bingen: Flowers and seeds boiled in wine drive out the poison and soothe the offended liver. If anyone has jaundice, let him boil it in water and drink it in the morning and before going to bed, and do this three or four times, and it will get better.

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