Milk Thistle

Silybum marianum

An impressive giant of a thistle with seeds that have been used for centuries to boost the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body.

Also being known as Our Lady’s or St. Mary’s thistle, you immediately know something special is up with milk thistle. The little seeds that form in its alluring bright-pink but VERY spikey regal crown, are remarkably supportive for the liver. The thorns are certainly ready to protect her precious progeny, just as the seeds can protect us.

Milk thistle can be grown as a winter annual or a biennal (see ‘sowing & growing’ below), which means that it dies once it has flowered and produced seeds. However, it usually self-seeds in the vicinity, so take care to keep the plants under control to prevent this valuable liver tonic from turning into an out-of-control spiky super-weed!

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