Milk thistle (silymarin) is used to help people with liver problems, aid in the treatment of diabetes, and lower LDL cholesterol. Milkweed is a bright plant that produces large and colorful flowers that attract butterflies in great abundance. I will never SPAM you. By entering your e-mail you consent to subscribe to my newsletter. The flowers typically range in size from about 1 1/2 inches to nearly 6 inches long. The seed of the milk thistle plant is commonly used to treat chronic inflammatory liver disorders and it is among the top-selling medicinal herbs. Because milk thistle is related to ragweed, folks with seasonal allergies to this wild plant should avoid consuming it as either a fall foraging for edible or medicinal purposes. I would recommend using the herb or nut setting on a standard home dehydrator, allowing it to dry for about 5 hours. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. After harvesting, the seeds are crushed or cracked to release the potent medicine that is absorbed into an alcohol mixture. If you've stumbled onto a patch of milk thistle growing in rocky soil, grab your gloves and pruning shears. When dehydrating the flower cone head, plant pieces should be extremely brittle to the touch when the drying process is complete. Cut dried milk thistle blossoms off the plant from the base of the flower head. Although milk thistle is a drought resistant plant, in extremely dry conditions plants should be watered until established. Once I’ve trimmed off as many of the prickles as I can find, I reach in carefully and pluck out the fluff. Best forms of Milk Thistle. Your email address will not be published. The skills we have honed are just as vital to our survival as the tools and gear we stockpile. They can be used in place of lettuce in salads, as an asparagus substitute in recipes, and in place of rhubarb. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. Most people consider milk thistle a pesky weed because it can grow tall and thorny, making it hard to even get near. Milkweed and milk thistle are not the same plant. Side effects that may indicate an allergic reaction to milk thistle include: Avoid using milk thistle if taking metronidazole, Simeprevir, and drugs to treat hepatitis C. Typically, milk thistle dosing guidelines are recommended to be no more than 140 mg consumed orally three times per day for adults. You have to be extra careful when harvesting the leaves, as they are more prickly than the flowers are. The following growing guidelines offer valuable advise about how to cultivate and take care of milk thistle at home. Transfer the seeds to a storage container so the chaff floats away. Store dehydrated portions of the milk thistle plant in an airtight container like a Mason jar, or seal them with a vacuum sealer machine. When dealing with a particularly dry or spikey plant, I can even feel the tiny yet sharp thorns through my lined leather work gloves. To do this, put the milk thistle … It has not been evaluated by the FDA. If you’re tired of all the chemical-laden skin creams that overpromise and underdeliver, you’re going to love this little plant. For how long should they be allowed to dry? | WSU Clark Country Extension, Milk Thistle. The fruit portion of milk thistle is found in the pappus that falls away when the plant dries, and is not used to make an extract. Hi, I am curious that most pictures I see of milk thistle seeds are like yours, a pale seed. The only requirement for milk thistle is a well-draining soil. Unlike milkweed that grows in the spring and blooms in the middle of summer, milk thistle grows in the summer and blooms just as the season is ending – in most climates. During your fall foraging, keep an eye on the plant just about daily during the final days of September and into the first week or so of October for signs of drying and pappus. Expect solar dehydrating to cut the standard air drying or sack drying time approximately in half. Cut the seed heads off the milk thistle plant and place them in a paper bag. Again, do not attempt to harvest milk thistle without wearing durable work gloves. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. This tincture generally has a bright yellow color due to the presence of the silymarin. All Rights Reserved. If left unattended, milk thistle can take over a field thanks to the easy and rapid dispersal of its seeds by even a slight wind. I think from eight or so heads, I got about a half cup of milk thistle seeds. Crush milk thistle leaves and seeds with a mortar until they're finely powdered. While it isn’t quite that dire, it is almost that dire. For example, put the bag of milk thistle heads in your garage or a room in your house that gets lots of sunshine and warmth. They are hairless and alternate up the stem of the plant. This fall foraging all star has a branched stem filled with leaves that boast a prickly appearance and texture. Studies regarding the potential impact of milk thistle when treating asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, drug-induced hepatotoxicity, drug-induced nephrotoxicity, dyslipidemia, and cancer are still ongoing – clinical trial results that support claims of milk thistle being viable treatments for the above noted conditions are limited with some showing equivocal results. Cut dried milk thistle blossoms off the plant from the base of the flower head. Also not for the ragweed-allergic. In the fall you should begin to see white or silver seeds appear near the tops of the milk thistle. ( 1 ) Things to keep in mind when planting and harvesting milk thistle: ( 41 , 44 ) Milk thistle is one of the bittering ingredients I've seen listed as an alternative to hops. The stems taste better when eaten while the plant is still young. This wild plant is first known to have been used in ancient Greece more than 2,000 years ago. Your support helps wikiHow to create more in-depth illustrated articles and videos and to share our trusted brand of instructional content with millions of people all over the world. Silymarin is the active ingredient in milk thistle. Milk thistle seed extract helps treat liver health problems such as cirrhosis. The Greeks used milk thistle to treat snake bites and liver problems. Buy pre-packaged milk thistle tea bags, or create your own tea at home. Store it in a cool, dry spot for 48 hours. The silymarin from milk thistle is in the seeds, which are used to make extracts or tinctures for medicinal use.