How to make Milk Thistle Seeds Tea: Healthy Tips and Tricks

The hectic pace and stress of everyday life, paired with inadequate diet, is a recipe for less-than-optimal health. The good news is nature offers plenty of solutions if you know where to look. Recently, one of the most popular solutions has been milk thistle seeds organic tea.

January 3, 2024

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Derived from thistle seeds, this remedy brings a host of benefits for overall health. Unfamiliar with its advantages? Now’s the time to discover each and every one. From definitions and how-to guides to blessed thistle vs milk thistle differences, the following article will be your all-inclusive guide.

What Is Milk Thistle Weed?

Milk Thistle, also known as Silybum Marianum, is a plant native to North America and Southern Europe. It belongs to the same family as the daisy but grows much faster, reaching as much as 3,5 feet in height, and its distinctive purple flowers and delicate but spiky leaves are much easier to spot and recognize.

On top of that, Milk Thistle weed carries cultural significance, particularly in traditional Christianity. Its leaves, marked with white veins, were thought to originate from the drops of Virgin Mary's milk, hence its name. This association has made the plant a symbol of purity and led to beliefs in its healing powers against different illnesses.

While these ideas have roots in folklore, they also hold some truth. In fact, milk thistle tea is well-known for its detoxification benefits and liver-healing properties.

Milk Thistle and Look Alike Species

Milk Thistle might not resemble its white-petalled sister, but it is often mistaken for another close relative, commonly referred to as Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus). For your convenience, the Milk Thistle vs Blessed Thistle section below offers an overview of the primary differences between the two.

Milk Thistle vs Blessed Thistle

The first difference you’ll notice between these plants is their appearance. Both have the species-characteristic green, prickly leaves and flowers, but their shapes set them apart. Blessed Thistle produces yellow buds, which bloom much smaller than the Milk Thistle flower. It also has lobed leaves that very obviously lack Milk Thistle leaves’ white marbling.

The two plants have also had quite different historical uses. Blessed Thistle gained acclaim for its medicinal properties during the Medieval bubonic plague. Its uses eventually expanded to combating colds, coughs, and bacterial infections and aiding lactation in breastfeeding mothers. Nevertheless, its derivatives have never offered benefits in treating liver and gallbladder-related disorders, as has been the case with Milk Thistle tea.

Where Does Milk Thistle Grow?

We’ve mentioned the primary habitat of Milk Thistle in one of the opening paragraphs, but those areas are hardly the only places where you can find this plant. So, where does Milk Thistle grow, globally speaking? Field cultivation has helped it spread far outside its natural range years ago. It now also appears as an invasive weed in North America, Colombia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Australia, and other places.

Thanks to the Milk Thistle sprouts’ healing attributes and minimal cultivation requirements, the species is also a common crop in several regions. Growing Milk Thistle might not be overly complicated, but there are a few things you need to know if you’d like to cultivate this plant. It is a biennial herbaceous plant, and it flourishes in warm, sunny conditions, easily adapting to diverse soil types, from clay to sandy compositions.

How to Harvest Milk Thistle Sprouts?

In controlled conditions, Milk Thistle is grown like an annual plant, germinating early in the growing season. But what does milk thistle look like when it’s ripe? Once it gets a fluffy, white crown, you know it’s ready for harvest.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to grow the plant yourself. You’ll most likely be able to find it along roads and fence lines and in rural fields and meadows. Be aware that Blessed Thistle and Milk Thistle look alike, but the latter’s lavish purple flowers stand out from the greenery in August and September, making it easy to identify.

Whether in the wild or in your garden, you won't need a manual to learn how to harvest Milk Thistle. Just make sure you bring a pair of gloves, pruning shears, and a paper bag. You can get to work as soon as you find the first ripe flowers. 

Cut the stem under the flowerhead and let the plant fall into your harvesting bag. Once you’re home, put the flowers on a flat, dry surface and give them up to a week to dry. After that, you just have to separate the flowers from the seeds. Here’s what that process looks like:

  1. Put the dry flowers into a canvas bag.
  2. Shake it firmly.
  3. Press the bag with the palms of your hands to help the process.
  4. Pour the canvas content into a clean bucket or bowl from a distance.
  5. Watch the chaff blow away as the seeds fall into the container.
  6. Pick any leftover debris from the seeds.
  7. Store the seeds in an enclosed container, out of direct sunlight.

How to Make Milk Thistle Tea?

Once you have your organic Milk Thistle seeds, all the heavy lifting is done. The only thing left is preparing them for consumption and enjoying their numerous health benefits.

You’ll waste no time learning how to make Milk Thistle tea. The process is similar to making any other tea, so you only need some equipment. 

Note: You can also make organic Milk Thistle tea using this plant’s dried leaves. The brewing procedure is the same, except you’ll need a larger portion of leaves for tea of the same strength. We recommend a tablespoon.

Organic Milk Thistle Tea Benefits

Questioning the need to go to such lengths for a simple cup of tea? It's all for the sake of health. Organic Milk Thistle seed or leaf tea packs a range of medicinal benefits, highlighted in the upcoming sections.

Liver Disease Treatment and Detoxification

Historical records show people noticed Milk Thistle tea helped with liver health as far back as the 1st century AD. Over time, renowned herbalists and physicians like Nickolas Culpeper and Albrecht von Haller validated these theories through scientific research.

Apparently, Milk Thistle’s main element, silymarin, helps the liver’s filtering and detox process by protecting its cells from contaminants and oxidative stress. This way, the tea treats liver damage, reinforcing its regeneration and overall health.

Anti-inflammatory and Digestive Advantages

Silymarin in Milk Thistle seeds tea is also an antioxidant, offering benefits to the entire body. It helps protect cells from toxins, medication, alcohol, and other damaging substances by neutralizing them. In this capacity, Milk Thistle plays an anti-inflammatory role in the body. It alleviates pain and supports the body’s natural healing process while minimizing tissue swelling and irritation.

The same effects help the digestive system. Milk Thistle tea soothes the digestive organs, reducing bloating and indigestion. As such, it acts powerfully in the combat against irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, congestion, and similar ailments.

Cholesterol and Cancer Management

There haven’t been that many research papers on Milk Thistle’s influence on cholesterol and cancer. However, a couple of studies have suggested the plant can help people struggling with both. Scientists say Milk Thistle seeds tea can lower triglyceride and so-called bad cholesterol levels in the blood, boosting cardiovascular health.

Scientific research also hints that the silymarin in Milk Thistle might have cancer-preventing abilities. According to tests, this compound may be able to reduce the spread of some cancers and slow the growth of others.

When Will I See the Benefits of Using Milk Thistle?

The health benefits of Milk Thistle are almost certain, but the time it needs to take effect varies. Herbal teas generally take longer to produce visible results, and Milk Thistle is no exception. Depending on the targeted health issue and your body, it might take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for the tea to show results.

Of course, Milk Thistle's effectiveness hinges on consistency, which means a disciplined regimen is crucial. From the moment you learn how to make Milk Thistle tea, you can drink it several times a day, as it doesn’t contain caffeine. However, you should always practice moderation. Finding an optimal dose in consultation with a healthcare professional is advisable to ensure long-term success.

Final Thoughts

Milk Thistle is one of the most popular medicinal plants. It thrives in various climates and types of soil, so it’s easy to cultivate, but you can also easily find and harvest it in the wild. It offers a range of health benefits for your liver, gallbladder, digestive system, cholesterol levels, and more.

All you need to do is enroll in online herbal medicine courses, where you'll discover how to make Milk Thistle seeds tea following our instructions. Incorporate this practice into your daily routine and experience its potential benefits. With zero caffeine and minimal side effects, there's hardly any cause for concern. Give it a try, and expect to notice positive changes within a few weeks.

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