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Milk Thistle - A Useful Medicinal Plant
Milk Thistle - A Useful Medicinal Plant

Video: Milk Thistle - A Useful Medicinal Plant

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Video: Milk Thistle Medicinal Properties 2023, February
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Silybum marianum can be grown near St. Petersburg

Milk thistle
Milk thistle

We are talking about milk thistle, a plant that grows in the southern regions of our country.

However, as my personal experience has shown, milk thistle can be grown quite confidently here, in the North-West region. And not only to grow, but also to collect seeds that are fully ripe for medicinal purposes.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) belongs to the family of Compositae annuals or biennials up to 160 cm high with a stalk root.

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It looks like a weakly branched plant with large oblong-oval glossy leaves, spotty with transverse wavy stripes and yellow spines on the uneven edges of the leaves.

Milk thistle blooms with purple-crimson flowers from July to late autumn. Her flowers are collected in round baskets at the ends of almost leafless stems. Its fruits are black-yellow or brown-yellow achenes with a tuft at the top, which ripens in our zone in August-September.

Several years ago, advertising of milk thistle was very active, and pharmacies sold preparations from it in the form of various tablets, milk thistle oil and the seeds themselves, as well as in the form of powder meal.

How I grew milk thistle

Milk thistle
Milk thistle

I bought seeds for sowing at the pharmacy, not really hoping for the success of the undertaking, doubting their germination. But the fears turned out to be in vain, since the seeds gave 100% germination. And this, as it turned out, had a negative side for me. The fact is that I did not have experience in growing milk thistle, and I did not know what it looks like in the garden.

I sowed the way I sowed a sunflower, with gaps between the plants 40x50 cm. When the plants formed a rosette of four true leaves, it turned out that they covered the entire planting area and looked very impressive. Beautiful glossy variegated leaves were just a decoration of the garden.

As the thistle grew, it turned into a powerful plant, and when the main stem grew, it became very crowded in the garden. It's a pity, but the plants had to be defused. Moreover, it was not so easy to work: the thorny plant required work with thick gloves. It was interesting to observe the newcomers in my garden, and the neighbors, seeing huge, similar in size to the mighty burdocks familiar to everyone, but only the beautiful spotted leaves of the milk thistle, were interested: what kind of wondrous plant?

Their curiosity ended as soon as I asked them to touch the plant, and it was unpleasant and painful because of the thorns.

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Milk thistle
Milk thistle

The place for the milk thistle was chosen sunny, I always do this when planting a new plant for myself. And this time I knew that the plant was from southern latitudes, and the soil was well filled with organic matter, which, apparently, affected the results.

Milk thistle grew quickly, its main stem already reached a height of 170-180 cm, the plant itself looked very impressive, I would even say - majestic. Many flowering baskets formed, and all the baskets of the main stem, fading away, gave ripe seeds of a dark color. The lateral stems also had many flowers, and the seeds were tied, but by autumn they did not have time to ripen.

Collecting the seeds of this plant also has its own specifics. First of all, you should start collecting seeds in late August - mid-September, when the wrappers on the faded baskets dry up. It is better to start harvesting early in the morning, when the baskets have not yet blossomed, since, having blossomed, the seeds fly away on their parachutes with gusts of wind.

After cutting the baskets, I dried them additionally, freed the seeds from the parachute fluffs and took them out of the baskets sometimes with effort, since they sit there quite tightly. Ripe seeds are dark in color, and unripe seeds are pale, almost white, however, like those of sunflower.

Imagine my surprise when the next year, and in all subsequent years, in the spring, I found the risen milk thistle in one or another part of the garden, although I did not sow it there. This means that the seeds, scattering in the wind and falling into the soil, then sprouted by self-sowing and grew quite successfully. But if the place was shady, then the plant grew to its usual size and bloomed, but the sun was not enough to ripen the seeds.

Medicinal uses of milk thistle

Milk thistle
Milk thistle

From the literature I know that the medicinal raw materials of milk thistle are seeds, roots and even leaves. The seeds are dried, stored in bags and used as a decoction, tincture or powder to treat liver inflammation and varicose veins in the lower extremities.

To prepare a decoction, 30 g of powdered seeds are poured into 1/2 l of hot water, boiled in a water bath until the amount of water is halved, then filtered through 2-3 layers of gauze. Take 1 tbsp. spoon in an hour. The course of treatment is 1-2 months.

Dry seed powder is taken 1 teaspoon 4-5 times a day 20 minutes before meals.

That's exactly what I did: I got the powder from the beans using a coffee grinder. The condition of the liver is improving, I know from my own experience, since milk thistle preparations increase the formation and excretion of bile, increase the protective properties of the liver in relation to various kinds of infections and poisoning.

I learned that milk thistle roots are dug up in the fall, shaken off the ground, washed in cold water and dried in the sun or in a dryer at a temperature of 40-50 ° C. Store in a closed glass container for one year. A decoction of the roots is prepared at the rate of 1 tbsp. a spoonful of raw materials for 1 cup of boiling water. All this is boiled in a sealed enamel bowl in a water bath for 30 minutes, filtered hot through 2-3 layers of gauze, squeezed out and the volume of boiled water is brought to the original. Take 1 tbsp. spoon three times daily before meals.

In folk herbal medicine, a decoction of the roots is used for toothache as a rinse, for diarrhea, urinary retention, sciatica and convulsions. The juice of the leaves is drunk for constipation, inflammation of the colon and gastric mucosa.

See also: Growing milk thistle (Silybum marianum)

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