Herb of the week – Milk thistle seeds

Welcome to the Herb of the week! Here you can find short presentations of favorite herbs, common uses and some extra information related to the Chinese and the Greek herbal medicine.

All the information provided is informative, if someone has health problems or wants to follow a specific treatment, it is good to refer to an herbalist and even with the supervision of his doctor in cases of prescription medicine. In cases of herbal therapy, an herb is rarely used by itself and is needed to be monitored by a trained herbalist for the right combination.

Nature has provided to have such a great variety of herbs, wisely divided into the cycle of seasons, that is admirable, and the more someone gets to know more about the plant kingdom the more will be fascinated! We continue with the basic liver detoxification herbs since we are already in the second month of spring. Of course, we wouldn’t leave the milk thistle seeds out! The use of thistle seeds was already known by Dioscorides as a detoxifying and lactagogue (promoting the flow of breast milk) herb.

This humble weed has amazing properties and its uses coincide with traditional Greek and Chinese herbal medicine. It is important to mention some of its ingredients, it contains, among others, flavonoid glycosides, malic acid salts, potassium nitrate, and mucilage.

Traditionally but also in Chinese herbal medicine is used:

  • To improve liver function
  • During breastfeeding as lactagogue
  • As an anti-depressant herb
  • For liver fat infiltration
  •  For psoriasis
  • To regulate mast cells
  • For liver diseases such as chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, cholelithiasis, cholangitis, jaundice
  • To clean the chronic alcohol drinkers hepatic syndromes
  • To remove toxic fire

It is cold in nature and bitter in taste. It indicates the liver and gallbladder meridians. It removes the toxicity, the heat and dries the dampness, it is a very strong detoxifying herb.

In general, it is considered a safe herb, but it needs moderation in its consumption because it can cause diarrhea, stomach upsets, allergic reactions in those who have allergies, and if someone has hypertension thistle is not suitable because it can raise blood pressure.

Suggested combinations for decoction:

It can be consumed by itself up to 2-3 cups a day, it needs to be boiled in water for 5-10 minutes, left for another 5 minutes in hot water, and then consumed lukewarm.

Artichoke leaves with taraxacum, thistle seeds, and nettle leaves to nourish the liver and gallbladder and as a very strong detoxifying combination for spring.

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