Milk Thistle Benefits
What is Milk Thistle good for? Ask a gardener, and they’ll undoubtedly say not much. Ask us, however, and we will say quite a lot! Milk Thistle benefits are real. But what does Milk Thistle do, exactly? More to the point, does Milk Thistle work in everyday life? Or is it just scientific theory? This blog will answer some of your burning questions.
Milk Thistle Tea is the greatest thing to come from a plant that, at the best of times, gets in the way. We often consider it a weed, but when one brews it up, it becomes anything but pesky. Ready to learn more about Milk Thistle Benefits? Let’s explore now!
What is Milk Thistle
The Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) plant belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is an annual or biennial plant that can grow up to 1.5 metres in height. Milk Thistle was originally native to Europe and Asia, but now also grows in the Americas and Oceania.
The plant grows most commonly by roadsides and on waste sites. It has a reputation as a particularly troublesome weed owing to its conspicuous, glossy green, white-veined, sinuate lobed leaves. These leaves are thornily toothed at the edges and can prick anyone who walks too close. Many of us will know this all too well.
Additionally, the Silybum marianum plant produces tufts of red-violet tubular flowers on the top of its apically branching stalks. These flowers bloom from June to September. The seeds of the Milk Thistle, meanwhile, are brown, hard-shelled and egg-shaped.
What is Milk Thistle Tea
When it comes to Tea, we use both the leaves of the plant and the seeds. This gives rise to our Milk Thistle Tea and our Milk Thistle Seeds Tea. Both are as delicious as each other. And both are packed fresh to order here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company.
Milk Thistle Tea and Milk Thistle Seeds Tea are Herbal Teas that do not contain any leaves (or seeds!) from the Camellia Sinensis plant. This means that, like most Herbal Teas, they are both entirely caffeine-free. This, in turn, makes them an excellent choice for those looking to cut down on their caffeine intake. But what about their taste?
Milk Thistle Loose Leaf Tea never ceases to surprise when it comes to flavour and aroma. It offers sweet, smooth herbaceous notes complemented by subtle grassiness, earthiness and vegetal undertones. Some enjoy it with a slice of lemon, but we prefer it served as it is!
And don’t worry about the leaves - we dry and crush them, thus removing their prickly reputation!
What is Milk Thistle Seed
Again, we dry the seeds of the Milk Thistle plant, just like the leaf. When ‘brewed up’, it offers a light and earthy aroma with sweet, nutty notes in taste. And like Milk Thistle Leaf Tea, we recommend serving this beverage without any accompaniments. This allows you to enjoy its all-natural flavours exactly as they should be!
Ultimately, it’s immensely difficult to compare Milk Thistle Loose Leaf Tea with Milk Thistle Seeds Tea. Both brews taste so different and likewise offer slightly different qualities. We are, of course, talking about Milk Thistle Benefits and Milk Thistle Seeds Tea Benefits!
History of Milk Thistle
Before you jump in with one of our Milk Thistle Tea choices, we believe it’s important to know a bit more about its history. Sometimes, looking back can help us to determine our future. Milk Thistle Tea is no exception.
The Milk Thistle has many fascinating stores associated with its name. The Botanical term for Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum, is twofold: “Silybum” derives from the Greek words “sillybon” or “silybos”, meaning “tassel” or “tuft” respectively.
The word “marianum”, meanwhile, is of Latin origins. It refers to the legend that the white “spots” (technically veins) on the Milk Thistle leaves came from the milk of the Virgin Mary. This was while she nursed Jesus during her “flight into Egypt”, according to Matthew 2:13-23 in the Bible. The “milk” in Milk Thistle also originates from the bible for this same reason.
Historically, the renowned Roman author and naturalist, Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), advocated the use of milk thistle for medicinal purposes. He wrote about the plant’s juice and its virtues of “carrying of bile”. This referred to a general description of any internal fluid during this time.
Similarly, Dioscorides (circa 40 - 90 CE), a Greek physician employed by the Roman army, claimed that milk thistle seeds could remedy infantile colic and even treat serpent bites. Later references to Milk Thistle’s usage for snake bites date back to the 4th Century CE. According to one Saxon remedy: “this wort if hung upon a man’s neck it setteth snakes to flight”.
Hundreds of years later, Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) considered Milk Thistle as efficient as Carduus benedictus, a thistle-like plant from the same family, for fighting fevers. He also said it prevented and cured infection of the plague. Culpeper likewise recommended an infusion made from the root and seeds of the plant for jaundice and dropsy (oedema).
Perhaps most significantly, Culpepper suggested the use of Milk Thistle for obstructions in the liver and the spleen. Could this be an early reference to the detoxification ability of Milk Thistle? It is very likely indeed. Another famous herbalist of the 17th Century, William Westmacott, wrote in 1694 that the Milk Thistle was “a Friend to the Liver and the Blood”. Today, little has changed.
Milk Thistle Benefits
Milk Thistle Tea is an ancient medicine for modern times. But why and how has it stood the test of time? Why and how does it remain just as popular today as it was thousands of years ago? Aside from tasting great, both types of Milk Thistle Tea can improve one’s everyday way of life.
This is mainly because Milk Thistle contains silymarin, a group of three flavonoids which, in turn, are called silibinin, silydianin and silicristin. These three components hold the key to the health benefits of Milk Thistle Tea.
But that’s not all. Milk Thistle contains many other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Combined, they can combat free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the product of natural, though harmful, human oxidation. By potentially neutralising free radicals, Milk Thistle can reduce the risks of developing many chronic conditions.
And yet there is still more. Let’s explore Milk Thistle benefits in-depth.
Milk Thistle Liver Detox
Detox means “detoxification”, which refers to the process of removing nasty toxins from the body. The most common kind of “detox” is a liver detox. The liver is the largest internal organ in the body, one responsible for purifying the blood by removing harmful substances.
The organ also releases glucose into the bloodstream; produces certain hormones; and assists the small intestine in absorbing fatty foods. But right now, let’s focus on its capacity to detoxify the body, because Milk Thistle Tea can support this function outstandingly.
A common ‘nasty toxin’ found in the body is alcohol. However, a Milk Thistle Hangover treatment might just be the answer to your woes. This is because silymarin in Milk Thistle strengthens the outer membranes of the liver cells and reduces the number of toxins entering these cells. In other words - consider drinking this Tea after a night on the town to get rid of some of the remaining alcohol in your system!
Milk Thistle Liver Health
And the above isn’t the only Milk Thistle liver benefit! There are, indeed, other reasons to drink Milk Thistle for liver health. According to some scientific research, this Herbal Tea might also reduce the risks of developing liver cirrhosis.
This is supported by an exclusive study requested by the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Furthermore, among six studies of Milk Thistle and chronic alcoholic liver disease, four reported significant improvement in at least one measurement of liver function (i.e. aminotransferases, albumin, and/or malondialdehyde).
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Preliminary studies suggest that Milk Thistle Tea can lower “bad” LDL Cholesterol in the body. One 2006 study supported this claim. It recognised that those taking Milk Thistle to treat diabetes had lower cholesterol levels than those taking a placebo.
Additionally, the silymarin content might reduce blood pressure. However, studies are again only preliminary. Most notably, the antioxidant ‘cocktail’ that is Milk Thistle Tea reduces cardiovascular disease risks by combating free radicals, as mentioned previously.
Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we await further research before endorsing the consumption of Milk Thistle Tea or Milk Thistle Seeds Tea for improved cardiovascular health. Nevertheless, it all looks promising.
Milk Thistle for Weight Loss
When consumed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, Milk Thistle benefits can help to boost the metabolism. This, in turn, enables the body to burn fat quicker and more efficiently. By boosting the metabolism, exercise routines inevitably produce better results. When combined with healthy eating, this could ultimately help you to fit back into your favourite pair of jeans!
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in July 2007 supports this claim. It discovered that people lost weight and decreased their body mass index (BMI) during the 120-day trial after consuming Milk Thistle extract. Additionally, the study supported claims that the silymarin in Milk Thistle, when combined with other diabetes medication, helped with blood sugar control.
It’s imperative to note, however, that Milk Thistle benefits do not do all the work for you. While it’s a nice idea, one shouldn’t give up that morning joy just yet! With hard work and determination, you will succeed. Choose Milk Thistle Tea or Milk Thistle Seeds Tea to help you along the way.
Milk Thistle Seeds Benefits
Milk Thistle Seeds Tea, like Milk Thistle Loose Leaf Tea, can improve one’s everyday way of life. In fact, it shares many Milk Thistle health benefits with its leafy counterpart. That said, it also others significantly different Milk Thistle benefits.
Let’s now explore the astounding medicinal qualities of Milk Thistle Seeds. Then, one can compare the two and decide which beverage suits one’s lifestyle best.
Milk Thistle Seeds for Gallstones
Evidence obtained from preliminary clinical trials at New York University Langone Medical Center suggests that components in Milk Thistle Tea, particularly silymarin, protect against gallstone formation. This, however, remains unproven anywhere else.
Again, we await further research before endorsing this Tea for gallstones. Nevertheless, what the NYU Langone Medical Center discovered was that, in animal models, Milk Thistle Seeds benefits show significant stone dissolution by reducing cholesterol output in the bile. Furthermore, this dissolution occurred by expanding the bile acid pool.
Scientists likewise noted that Milk Thistle Seeds reduced the risk of gallstones by stimulating more gallbladder contraction.
1 in 17 people either have diabetes or are prediabetic in the UK, according to recent statistics. Unfortunately, there is no easy “fix-all” solution. However, Milk Thistle Seeds Tea could offer a helping hand. This is because of new research that suggests that Milk Thistle seeds have hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic properties.
According to one study published in the Journal of the Society for Biomedical Diabetes Research, silibinin can act as an inhibitor of aldose reductase. As mentioned previously, silibinin belongs to the silymarin family, along with silydianin and silicristin.
Examining the research from a broad perspective, silymarin can help metabolise glucose in the body, thus balancing blood sugars. This, in turn, can help to reduce the risks of developing type-2 diabetes. It is, yet again, important to note that research has only reached its preliminary stages. For this reason, we await further research before endorsing this Tea for reduced diabetes risks.
Milk Thistle can aid in the improvement of both digestive and skin health owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is an excellent choice for those who suffer from bloating, constipation, cramping or excess flatulence. This is because it can optimise your digestive system; relieve inflammation in the gut tissues; and ensure proper nutrient uptake.
When it comes to skin health, on the other hand, Milk Thistle benefits can reduce skin inflammation. This, in turn, aids in the reduction of acne, eczema and psoriasis, as well as other minor skin-related conditions. Preliminary research has suggested that Milk Thistle and Milk Thistle Seeds Tea can protect the skin against UV ray damage, especially when used topically.
Milk Thistle Side Effects
It is uncommon to experience side effects from drinking Milk Thistle Tea or Milk Thistle Seeds Tea. However, one should always exercise caution with any Herbal Tea. This means, in particular, moderating how much one drinks daily.
We recommend that those who’re pregnant seek the advice of a midwife, doctor or another health professional before consuming either Tea. Furthermore, Milk Thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family.
Milk Thistle Tea Online
Which one will you choose - Milk Thistle Loose Leaf or Milk Thistle Seeds Tea? In one way, it doesn’t matter. Whichever way you go, you’ve chosen exceptionally well.
Alternatively, one may wish to try a blend that includes Milk Thistle. For this, we recommend our Detox Lemon and Ginger Tea. This beverage contains not one, not two, not three, not even four, but five beneficial ingredients. These are Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Ginger Root, Dandelion Herb and, of course, Milk Thistle.
So, do you still see Milk Thistle as a weed? We hope not because it can offer so much more.