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Milk Thistle
shopping: all 3 varieties
Silybum marianum

milk thistle

plant overview
the holy thistle

Milk thistle is a Mediterranean plant in the daisy family that is characterized by tufts of purple flower heads surrounded by a halo of protective thorns. Because the plant is associated with the Virgin Mary, who is reputed to have wept over the plant, it is also called Holy Thistle, Blessed Thistle, Mary Thistle and Lady’s Thistle. The plant is harvested for its seed, which contains a significant amount of amino acids, protein and, most notably, a group of chemical compounds referred to as silymarin. Milk thistle seed can be added to salads and other foods, but is most commonly used to produce teas, infusions, tinctures and extracts.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.
Milk thistle
Silybum marianum

milk thistle

plant overview
the holy thistle

Milk thistle is a Mediterranean plant in the daisy family that is characterized by tufts of purple flower heads surrounded by a halo of protective thorns. Because the plant is associated with the Virgin Mary, who is reputed to have wept over the plant, it is also called Holy Thistle, Blessed Thistle, Mary Thistle and Lady’s Thistle. The plant is harvested for its seed, which contains a significant amount of amino acids, protein and, most notably, a group of chemical compounds referred to as silymarin. Milk thistle seed can be added to salads and other foods, but is most commonly used to produce teas, infusions, tinctures and extracts.

01.
A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on milk thistle

description
Silybum marianum is an annual or biannual plant of the Asteraceae family. This plant can take on impressive proportions: it grows from 1 to 6 1/2 feet in height with its base at times reaching nearly 5 feet in diameter. Milk thistle grows in a conical shape, the stem being grooved and somewhat cottony. In the larger specimens the stem is hollow.

Milk thistle's leaves are oblong to lanceolate— and they are either lobate or pinnate, with spiny edges. The leaves also have milk-white veins, are devoid of hair, and are shiny green.

The red-purple flower heads are 1 1/2 to 4 3/4 inches long and wide. They flower in the summer through autumn (more specifically from June to August in the North and from December to February in the Southern Hemisphere). Like its leaves, milk thistle's bracts are hairless, but have triangular, spine-edged appendages, that are tipped with a stout yellow spine.

The achenes (small, dry, one-seeded fruits) are black, with a simple long white pappus, surrounded by a yellow basal ring.

common names & nomenclature
Legend states that the milk-white veins of the leaves originated in the milk of the Virgin which once fell upon a plant of Thistle, hence it was called Our Lady's Thistle; the Latin name of the species has the same derivation.

Also known as:
Cardus marianus, milk thistle, blessed milk thistle, Marian Thistle, Mary Thistle, Saint Mary's Thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle,variegated thistle, Scotch thistle.
Not to be confused with Centaurea benedicta (aka Cnicus benedictus, aka Blessed Thistle).

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
you should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet!!
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