Amazing Benefits of Milk Thistle Tea

Milk thistle tea is made from the flowering herb of milk thistle (scientific name: Silybum Marianum), which belongs to the daisy family. It is also known by the names of Mary thistle or holy thistle. The herb originally comes from the Mediterranean region but is now cultivated in many other parts of the world including Europe and North Africa, for medical proposes. It has been traditionally used for the treatment of various digestive problems and is also an important part of present day natural therapies.

The herb is called ‘milk thistle’ because of the milky fluid that is present in the milk thistle plant. This fluid is the main active constituent of milk thistle and is known as silymarin. It is an antioxidant and also possesses anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifibrotic qualities.

Milk thistle, although thorny, is a pretty looking herb with decorative white-patterned leaves and purple flowers. It is a form of a shrub, though many gardeners also consider it a weed, because of its frenzied growth pattern. In its native regions, the plant is often used as a decorative item in bouquets and house gardens.


History of the Herb

Our ancestors discovered the goodness of the milk thistle herb about 2,000 years ago. It has since formed an important part of traditional herbal science. The herb finds mention in several ancient books including those from the highly advanced civilizations of Rome and Greece. The herb’s quality to cure digestive and liver problems was discovered in the middle ages, followed by other remedial uses including curing snakebites. The plant was named Mary’s thistle by early Christians after Mother Mary.

In the sixteenth century, people started using milk thistle for curing mental ailments like emotional distress and depression. The Europeans continued to use it for these purposes long after. Later a renowned physician of the seventeenth century, Nicholas Culpeper, identified the herb as a cure for jaundice, due to its ability to unblock and heal the liver. By the 19th century, other uses of milk thistle were also discovered and it started being used for kidney diseases and problems of varicose veins and the menstruation cycle. It was even believed to manage anger and aggression in people. In China, the traditional Chinese medicine calls it ‘shui fei ji’, and uses it to clear toxins and heat from the body.

Even today, its beneficial effects on the liver and digestive system are widely accepted even in modern medicine and extensive research is being carried out to study its positive effects on several other bodily functions and health conditions.


Benefits of Milk Thistle Tea

Milk thistle tea offers a range of health benefits and uses in natural medicine. Apart from the active ingredients, it also contains vitamins and minerals which aid healing and prevention of several chronic diseases. Some of the most prominent uses of milk thistle tea include:

Curing Liver Problems

This is the foremost use of milk thistle tea and has been applied since traditional times. The liver is not an easy organ to heal. In conditions like liver cirrhosis, milk thistle tea helps in two ways: it strengthens the liver cells so as to prevent poisonous elements from penetrating it and it catalysis cell division to aid the natural growth of the liver.

Reducing Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory properties of this tea help to cure common health problems like headaches, migraines, various body aches, arthritis and other joint disorders.

Managing Heart Problems and Cholesterol

The tea helps in managing blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels, reducing strain on the cardiovascular system. This lowers the risk of a heart attack, atherosclerosis and the coronary heart disease.

Managing Diabetes

Milk thistle tea also possesses blood sugar regulating properties that can be highly beneficial for diabetic patients. It helps prevent the acute rise and fall of glucose levels in patients during meal times. Consumption of this tea can also be beneficial to those at the risk of getting diabetes.

Treating Chronic Diseases

Milk thistle tea is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids that can counter the impact of oxidative stress and free radicals in the body. These are mainly responsible for causing several chronic diseases, apoptosis and cellular mutations. Further, the antioxidants are also known to control the aging process.

Fighting Cancer

The tea also has the potential to fight epithelial cancer. It helps control the multiplication of colorectal cancer-causing cells. The silibinin present in the tea possesses qualities to inhibit tumor growth. Not just this, it also helps to subside the side effects of chemotherapy, helping patients fight the later stages of cancer.

Keeping Kidneys Healthy

Like in the case of liver problems, for kidney problems as well, the herb works to catalyze cell regeneration, helping them heal on their own. It has even shown positive results in several cases of dialysis patients.

Preventing Brain Diseases

Milk thistle contains neuroprotective elements that may prove to be beneficial for preventing conditions like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. It has even shown results in suppressing the possibilities of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the growth of the toxic beta-protein that causes it. The positive effects of milk thistle are being studied on several other conditions of learning and memory as well.

Relieving Digestive Issues

Milk thistle tea has always proven to be helpful in treating digestive problems. Common digestion issues like constipation, stomach cramps, bloating or excess flatulence can be cured easily by consuming milk thistle tea in prescribed quantities. However, it is important to ensure proper diet intake while taking the milk thistle treatment for stomach problems.

Aiding Weight Loss

Milk thistle tea aids burning of fat while also increasing metabolism of your body. It also helps to suppress your acquired hunger, which does not really stem from the nutritional needs of the body, but from your lifestyle choices. Thus, it is an effective natural way to fight obesity and related problems.

Improving Immunity

Regular intake of the herb can have a positive impact on your immunity system. It is also known to stimulate neurons and protect you against infections and diseases.

Protecting Your Skin

The herb’s anti-inflammatory properties help to cure skin inflammations. Besides displaying anti-aging and cancer-prevention properties, it helps in protecting your skin against several other skin problems.

Preventing Bone Loss

Milk thistle tea can prevent bone loss and quicken the healing of fractures by checking estrogen deficiency that causes many bone related problems.

Checking Asthmatic Symptoms

Allergic asthma, often caused by inflammation of the airway can be cured by consuming milk thistle tea, because of its strong anti-inflammatory properties. It also prevents the formation of harmful and obstructive substances in the lung fluids, thus allowing smooth and healthy respiration.

Compressing Varicose Veins

Conditions like open leg sores and varicose veins can be subsided by applying milk thistle tea externally on the affected areas.

Clearing Acne

Milk thistle tea contains active ingredients that clean your blood and detoxify your body. Thus, it helps you fight acne from the inside. It doesn’t just subside the ugly boils but helps you prevent them from occurring by keeping your blood and internal fluids clean.

Curing Hangovers

Another one of the many handy uses of milk thistle tea is relief from hangovers. So, instead of resorting to all those terrible tasting hangover cures your friends have suggested, you can have a hot cup of milk thistle tea the next time you experience a hangover. It stabilizes your liver and reduces the irritable effect caused by excessive alcohol metabolism.

It’s great if you are not suffering from any of the problems mentioned here. But you can still make good use of this herb as it is generally a good body cleanser and helps improve the functioning of the lymphatic and renal systems of your body. It watches over the general health of your cleansing organs like kidneys and the bladder and stimulates urination to help remove toxins and excess salts, fats and water from the body. Besides, it also keeps hypertension and anxiety in check.


How to Make Milk Thistle Tea?

Now that you know the world of benefits that milk thistle tea offers, why not get hands on with preparing it perfectly? There are various ways in which milk thistle tea can be prepared, depending on your taste, requirement and the form of herb you want to use. The following are a few recipes that are easy to prepare and are highly effective.

With Milk Extract

What You Need

  • Water: 1 cup
  • Milk thistle: 20 drops of pure extract

How to Make It

  1. Boil one cup of water.
  2. Add milk thistle extract to the hot water and mix well.
  3. Enjoy your hot cup of milk thistle tea!

With Grounded Seeds

What You Need

  • Milk thistle: 1 tablespoon of seeds in the powdered form
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Honey: 1 teaspoon (optional, for flavor)

How to Make It

  1. Bring two cups of water to boil and then lower the flame for it to simmer.
  2. Put the milk thistle seed powder in a tea bag.
  3. Place the bag in a teacup and pour the water over it.
  4. Leave it to stand for about five minutes.
  5. Remove the bag and enjoy your milk thistle tea! You may add honey to the tea for flavor.


With Peppermint and Fennel Seeds

What you need

  • Water: 1 cup
  • Milk thistle seeds: 1 oz.
  • Peppermint seeds: ½ oz.
  • Fennel seeds: ½ oz.

How to Make It

  1. Add milk thistle, peppermint and fennel seeds together.
  2. Bring the water to boil.
  3. Add the mixture to boiling water.
  4. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Strain the water and enjoy your tea with the added herbal flavors.


With Milk Thistle Leaves

What you need

  • Milk thistle: 1½ teaspoon of finely chopped leaves
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Honey: 1 teaspoon (optional, for flavor)

How to Make It

  1. Bring the water to boil.
  2. Put the finely chopped milk thistle leaves in a cup.
  3. Pour the boiling water over the leaves.
  4. Leave it to steep for ten minutes.
  5. Strain the leaves and enjoy the hot tea! You may add honey to it for flavor.

It is recommended that you have milk thistle tea 2-3 times in a day prior to having your meals. It is considered good for your digestion. If you do not enjoy the taste of the tea at first, you can add sweeteners and other herbal essences to your liking.

Don’t like the idea of tea? Although milk thistle tea has ‘tea’ in its name, it can be consumed in other forms as well. For example, coffee!


Milk Thistle Coffee

What You Need

  • Milk thistle: 1 tablespoon of seeds in powder form
  • Dandelion root: 1 tablespoon, roasted
  • Chicory root: 1 tablespoon, roasted
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Sugar (optional): 1 tablespoon, for flavor

How to Make It

  1. Boil one cup of water and keep it aside.
  2. Mix the milk thistle powder, chicory root and dandelion root and put the mixture in a French press.
  3. Pour the hot water over the mixture and let it stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Depress the mixture in the French press.
  5. Pour the coffee into a cup and enjoy the beverage. You may want to add some sugar for added flavor.

There are several ways in which you can consume milk thistle tea regularly. However, due to its potent nature and high levels of active ingredients, it is advised that you check for any reaction or side effects before making it a part of your everyday diet. If you are planning to take the tea for a serious health ailment, it is best that you consult your doctor for its dosage and use. Although side effects of milk thistle tea consumption have been noted rarely, they do exist in some cases. Some of them include constipation, rashes, heartburn, sweating, vomiting, insomnia, bloating and gastrointestinal distress.

These reactions usually affect people who are sensitive or prone to allergies. If you are already on a medication for a health problem like diabetes, blood pressure or hypertension, you should seek expert advice before starting a milk thistle tea regime, as overlapping may lead to unfavorable reactions.

Unless you detect a prevailing side effect of the tea, it is a good idea to have it every day. Regular intake of milk thistle tea will keep your body healthy and free of toxins while protecting it from glaring lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, liver problems and acne. The herb is widely available in supermarkets and medical stores for easy consumption.