Growing milk thistle

Silybum marianum is a valuable medicinal and ornamental plant

Milk thistle has been used as a medicinal plant for over two thousand years. According to historical documents, a decoction of the fruit was used in ancient Greece - Dioscorides recommended the use of milk thistle for many diseases.

In folk medicine, this plant is often used in the treatment of various liver diseases. The Latin name - Silybum marianum - comes from the Greek "silybum" - brush. The name of the species - "marianum" - is given in honor of the Mother of God. The name of the Holy Virgin Mary is mentioned in the name of this plant in many European countries. This is due to the white stripes on the leaves of the milk thistle, which were considered to be the milk of the Virgin Mary. Among the people, milk thistle (milk thistle) is known as Maryin Tatarnik. Sometimes, because of the white stripes, it is called "spicy and variegated".

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) belongs to the Asteraceae or Compositae family. It is a one- or two-year-old plant, reaching a height of 1.5-2 meters. In width, milk thistle grows up to 90 cm. The stem is straight or slightly branched, covered with flour bloom. The leaves are large, spotted, pinnate or pinnately dissected with spiny-toothed lobes.

Milk thistle blooms from mid-summer to autumn with purple tubular flowers, collected in an inflorescence - a round basket. The fruit is a black-yellow achene with a tuft of hairs at the end. Milk thistle is widespread in Asia Minor, Central Asia, the Mediterranean, North America. On the territory of our country, milk thistle is found in the southern regions of the European part, in the North Caucasus, in Western Siberia. Milk thistle grows along roads, in weedy and dry places.

The medicinal properties of milk thistle are actively used in modern medicine. It contains the entire group of fat-soluble vitamins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, amino acids - only about 200 components, which determines the versatile use of this medicinal plant.

But the most valuable component of milk thistle is silymarin. Silymarin is a mixture of flavonoligands - silybin, silydianin and silicristin, which are obtained from the fruit of the plant. Silybin is believed to have immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and regenerating properties. This flavonoid is hepatoprotective and antioxidant.

Silymarin stabilizes biomembranes and improves the function of cellular structures. This substance has a therapeutic and specifically preventive effect on liver cells. Silymarin is considered an effective remedy in the treatment of liver diseases such as fatty degeneration, toxic hepatitis, cirrhosis, viral hepatitis. There is evidence that, in addition to liver diseases, silymarin is effective in the treatment of gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer.

Currently, in the pharmacy you can see many medicines and dietary supplements (BAA) based on Silybum marianum. Typically, the drugs are sold in the form of an oil, powder, or tablet. It is believed that milk thistle oil has a wound healing, antiulcer, organoprotective, immunostimulating and restorative effect. Milk thistle oil is recommended for burns, wounds, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer, periodontitis, pharyngitis, etc. The oil is used as a prophylactic and as a remedy.

Milk thistle preparations in tablet form are often used for liver diseases (toxic damage, cirrhosis, chronic inflammatory diseases).

The medicinal raw material of milk thistle is mainly the seeds of this plant (they also harvest the roots). Seeds are harvested in late August and early September. Store in a well-ventilated area. In folk medicine, milk thistle roots are also used (decoction of roots is used for toothache, diarrhea, radiculitis).

The roots are dug up in the fall, cleaned of the earth, and then dried in the sun or in a dryer at a temperature of 40 ... 50 ° C. Dried roots are stored in a closed glass container.

In addition to the medicinal properties that milk thistle is generously endowed with, this amazing plant is very decorative. In garden plots, milk thistle is valued mainly for its beautiful variegated leaves. Milk thistle is suitable for growing in a semi-wild garden or in the background of a curb. It propagates by seeds. When grown on the site, it is not recommended to feed milk thistle, since this plant grows better on poor soils. It is better to choose a sunny place for planting and provide good drainage. Young plants can be damaged by slugs and snails.

M. Mamkaeva

Medicinal properties of milk thistle

As a medicinal raw material, the fruits (seeds) of milk thistle are harvested... Plants are mowed and left in the rolls until dry, then the rolls are picked up and threshed. The resulting fruits are dried in dryers and cleaned from impurities from other parts of the plant.

The chemical composition of the fruit not yet sufficiently studied. They contain flavonoids, saponins, alkaloids, organic acids, mucus, vitamin K, bitterness, fatty oil (16-28%), a little essential oil, protein substances, etc.

In folk medicine, the infusion of seeds was acutely and variedly used for diseases of the liver and spleen, hemorrhoids and colitis, accompanied by constipation. Currently, several medicinal preparations are prepared from the fruits of milk thistle, which are similar in their effect (in Russia - "Silibor", in Bulgaria - "Karsil", in Germany - "Legalon", in Yugoslavia - "Silymarin"). All of them have hepatoprotective properties, which are primarily due to the complex of flavonoids contained in the plant. These drugs normalize digestion, improve the functioning of the liver and gallbladder, have a choleretic effect, therefore they are prescribed for diseases of the liver and bile ducts, gallbladder (acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, gallstone disease, toxic lesions). In addition, milk thistle preparations have a mild hypotensive effect, that is, they lower blood pressure. They are well tolerated and have no contraindications and side effects.

Milk thistle seeds are commonly used as decoction: 30 g of powdered seeds are boiled in 0.5 l of water until the amount is reduced by half. Take a tablespoon every hour.

Another recipe: seed powder take a teaspoon 4-5 times a day.

The fruits are acutely variegated in several fees for the treatment of diseases of the liver and spleen, for example: "Mariakon", containing extracts of celandine, madder dye, St. John's wort) or "Hepatitis" (also contains extracts of dandelion and other plants).

"Ural gardener", No. 42, 2018

Photo: Maxim Minin, Rita Brilliantova

Milk thistle. Useful properties and contraindications

The undeniable beneficial effect of milk thistle on the normalization of liver function

Today we'll talk about the well-known milk thistle... Sometimes they call her Maryin thistle... She came to us from Asia and Southern Europe. First discovered in Greece, France, Israel, Portugal. Now it can be found in any country in the world.

Milk thistle is a very unpretentious plant to climatic conditions, grows on any soil. Milk thistle leaves are spotty, prickly, in divorces. Optimal term collecting milk thistle seeds - month of August. If you collect them at this time, the maximum useful properties of the seeds will be preserved.

Composition and useful properties of milk thistle

When studying the composition and beneficial properties of milk thistle, you can find that it contains more than 200 components for prophylactic use, as well as for the treatment of various diseases. Ratoropesha spotted is rich in vitamins B, E, K, F, D... Also, it is not deprived of essential amino acids such as tryptophan, histamine and useful flavonoids.

Milk thistle contains, binding carcinogenic molecules, providing a rejuvenating effect, helping the recovery processes in the body - chlorophyll.

Undeniable beneficial effect of milk thistle on the normalization of liver function... Symptoms such as headache in the morning, indigestion, thick dark discharge during menstruation can tell you about poor liver condition.

Milk thistle will help to strengthen the condition of the liver, improve its work.... Indeed, in our time, many aggravate liver problems by drinking alcohol, no one is immune from nervous overload, and there is nothing to say about the harmful substances that come with food. Also Milk thistle will be useful after hepatitis. If you are treated with a preparation based on milk thistle or take a supplement, the liver becomes less susceptible to infections and poisoning.

Eating milk thistle can help improve gallbladder health, since this plant stimulates the production and outflow of bile, reduces its density.

Don't give up milk thistle treatmentif there are liver diseases in the acute or chronic stage, if the bile ducts are inflamed or there are stones in the gallbladder, if the spleen is inflamed or hemorrhoids are worried.

Milk thistle is a great liver healer

It is used to speed up the liver regeneration process. Healthy cells are protected from infectious diseases and many other harmful effects on the liver.

Medicinal preparations based on milk thistle improve the functioning of the gallbladder, promote the production of bile, as well as its elimination from the body, and start the digestion process.

Milk thistle preparations are successfully used in acute and chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, in inflammatory processes of the gallbladder and its ducts. Milk thistle is included in the composition of drugs prescribed for the treatment and protection of the liver, to eliminate stones in the liver and gallbladder.

When treating, the most optimal intake options are milk thistle seeds, also on their basis, you can make infusions and tinctures. The seeds can be taken in powder form by grinding them in a coffee grinder.

Recipe number 1 ... If you are worried about discomfort in the liver, you need to pour a tablespoon of milk thistle seeds with half liters of boiling water. Leave covered for 10-15 minutes. Then it is advisable to strain. Drink the resulting infusion throughout the day. The course of treatment is three weeks. The most noticeable result of the treatment is the first three weeks. Then you need a break of two weeks and you can repeat the course.

Recipe number 2. If there is a desire to cleanse the liver and gallbladder, you need to mix the same parts of such herbs as milk thistle, tansy, chamomile, chicory, immortelle, St. John's wort, mint. Everything is optional, you can make a collection of at least three herbs.

Then take 2 tablespoons of the collection and pour 1 liter of boiling water. Keep on fire without boiling or use a water bath for at least 15 minutes. Then let it brew for 30 minutes. Strain the resulting infusion and take 100 ml half an hour before meals for 2 months. If there is a need, the treatment can be continued for another month.

Recipe number 3. To help the treatment of hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver, such an infusion is suitable: take 30 g of crushed milk thistle seeds, pour half liters of boiling water, then evaporate the water over low heat. When the water becomes half as much, leave for 15 minutes. Strain the infusion and drink 1 tablespoon every next hour. Take within a month.

How else to use milk thistle?

Milk thistle can be taken with treatment thyroid gland. To do this, use recipe number 3.

Hypotension (low blood pressure) - eat 1 dessert spoon of milk thistle powder every 2 hours. Drink with a small amount of clean water.

Vitiligo - for the treatment of skin pigmentation disorders, you need to take 2 tablespoons of milk thistle seed powder, pour half liters of warm rosehip infusion, bring to a boil and evaporate over low heat until the volume is reduced to 250 ml. When it cools down, you need to strain.

Take the resulting broth in 1 tablespoon 15 minutes before meals for a month. Along with taking this broth, you need to lubricate the areas of vitiligo with infusion - brew 2 teaspoons of black tea per 100 ml of rosehip infusion.

To get rid of varicose veins - for treatment, pour 1 tablespoon of milk thistle seeds with a glass of boiling water, leave for half an hour. This infusion needs to be treated all day. Also, with infusion, you can make compresses on painful areas of the veins.

Hemorrhoid treatment - brew 4 tablespoons of seeds with one liter of boiling water, leave for 20 minutes. Then strain. To do sitz baths with this infusion for 10 minutes, it should be at room temperature. Repeat the baths 10 times, then take a break for 10 days and repeat if necessary.

With constipation, colitis - can be treated with drops based on milk thistle juice. To do this, extract juice from fresh leaves; for this, 5-6 large fresh leaves are enough. Then take 1 liter of milk, add the resulting milk thistle juice and 3 tablespoons of alcohol to it. Drink 30 drops 30 minutes before meals.

The use of milk thistle oil for various ailments

Milk thistle oil is known to be rich in polyunsaturated Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids. These acids save us from free radicals, promote skin rejuvenation, and improve the health of the gallbladder, liver and pancreas.

If you replace the usual oil with milk thistle oil for a couple of months, then you can perfectly improve the liver, lower cholesterol, cleanse the body of harmful substances and, due to this, even lose weight.

When cold pressed, namely in this way, milk thistle oil is obtained, it retains a lot of useful qualities. It cannot be thermally processed, but it is very suitable for dressing salads or as an addition to various ready-made dishes.

With pathology of the liver and gallbladder, oil should be taken during a meal, 1 teaspoon. This will improve their performance.

To get rid of stomach and duodenal ulcers, try drinking one tablespoon of milk thistle oil a couple of hours after your last meal. Drink for two weeks. The oil regenerates damage to the gastric mucosa, thereby helping to heal ulcers.

Milk thistle oil is suitable for relieving troubles such as gastritis, heartburn, flatulence.

It will gently help nursing mothers with cracked nipples, heal wounds and cuts. It is also used to heal ulcers, to treat the delicate skin of young children. One of the options for using oil externally is to moisten a napkin with oil and apply to the affected area for a while.

During the heating season, when the skin of the face becomes very dry, milk thistle oil will also help. You need to take a thin napkin, moisten it with oil and apply on your face in the form of a mask. Minutes for 15. The regenerating ability of milk thistle oil will help reduce even wrinkles, as well as restore skin elasticity.

Contraindications for the use of milk thistle

Care should be taken to cleanse the liver with milk thistle oil for pregnant women. This can cause labor ahead of time.

Milk thistle oil is also not recommended for children under 12.

You do not need to be treated with milk thistle with gallstone disease in the acute stage, with kidney stones, with an acute course of the disease associated with the bile ducts.

Be wary of the treatment of milk thistle for nursing mothers.Lactation increases, but after cleansing the milk thistle toxins enter the mother's blood, and then to the child with milk.


drained, neutral, sandy loam

direct sunlight, scattered sunlight

Milk thistle- a classic weed: prickly, stubborn, quarrelsome. No wonder one of its names is - thistle.

However, appearance is a matter of taste. Someone does not like its leaves with sharp thorns and white stains at all, to someone they seem funny, hence, by the way, another uncomplicated folk name - spicy and variegated... And someone admires the original beauty of this rather large (from 60 cm to 2 m) plant from the family Astrov with spectacular carved leathery leaves and bright lilac inflorescences surrounded by thorns.

Latin name milk thistle - Silybum marianum. First word - Silybum - comes from the Greek "tassel". The second - the name of the species - is given in honor of the Virgin Mary. According to legend, the white streaks on its leaves are the milk of the Mother of God. It is clear that such a high name was not accidentally given to this bristling and outwardly not very friendly plant. Apparently, those who invented it had in mind not so much the appearance of the milk thistle as its internal features.

And they are unique. People have known about the medicinal properties of this plant since time immemorial, using its seeds, roots and leaves for many diseases. But in recent years, pharmacists have seriously taken up the study of milk thistle. In the last century, German scientists deciphered its biochemical composition. The main component turned out to be a rare biologically active substance - silymarin, which has a beneficial effect on the liver and restores its functions. In Russia, Germany and Bulgaria, drugs were created on its basis (they are called hepatoprotectors), which are very effective in the treatment of inflammation, cirrhosis and toxic liver damage. Milk thistle preparations are also used after chemotherapy, in case of poisoning, treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction, and many skin diseases. In general, the list of diseases for which it helps is incredibly long. This is also explained by the fact that, in addition to silymarin, about 200 biochemical components have been found in milk thistle. Therefore, for example, today almost all complex food additives (dietary supplements) produced in our country and abroad contain milk thistle. Either in the form of an oil or meal powder obtained from its seeds, or an infusion of leaves.

Those who are not averse to testing the medicinal properties of milk thistle can easily grow this biennial (less often annual) plant in their own garden. The landing site is dry, sunny and open. But preferably away from playgrounds and narrow paths - it will grow, it will stab and cling to innocent passers-by. Milk thistle seeds are sown into the ground to a depth of 2–2.5 cm at a distance of 40–50 cm. This can be done in early spring, in late April - early May, or before winter. Milk thistle is not very demanding on soils, but it works better on light, well-drained soils. Blooms in mid-summer and blooms until frost.

But the seeds of milk thistle do not ripen at the same time, and if the faded baskets are not cut off in time, the aggressive plant will scatter throughout the garden. And then you will understand why it is called a thistle.


Aggressive weed, care must be taken to spread throughout the garden

Caring for tricirtis in the garden

Even a novice gardener can grow tricyrtis on his site, since there is nothing difficult in this. It is very good if the flowers are planted on an area that meets all the requirements of this culture. Caring for such a plant is very simple, so, you need to water it in a timely manner, feed it, weed it, loosen the soil surface between the bushes and pick off wilted flowers.

How to water and feed

Despite the fact that this crop is resistant to drought, it is moisture-loving. In this regard, she should ensure systematic abundant watering, especially if there is a prolonged drought. For irrigation, use settled water, which should warm up well in the sun. It is necessary to pour water gently, at the root. When the water is completely absorbed into the soil, it is recommended to loosen its surface and, if necessary, weed. Experienced gardeners advise covering the surface of the plot with mulch, which can be used as compost or humus, it will not only prevent the earth from overheating, moisture quickly evaporate, and weed grass grow actively, but it will also become a source of nutrients for tricirtis.

If desired, this culture can not be fed at all. But you should know that it responds very well to feeding both with organic matter and with complex mineral fertilizers. It is forbidden to use fresh manure for fertilizing.


Very often, such a flower does not need to be transplanted, all the more so if it will systematically receive feeding during intensive growth and flowering. However, if tricirtis must be transplanted, then first you will need to find the most suitable site, pay special attention to the soil, it must be acidic, and its composition includes organic matter and peat.

Reproduction of tricirtis

The propagation of this culture by the seed method is described in detail above. Simultaneously with the transplant of the bush, you can also make its division. To do this, remove the bush from the soil, remove soil residues, as well as dried and rotten roots from its rhizomes. Then the bush is divided in half or into several divisions, while each of them should have shoots and roots. Places of cuts must be processed with crushed coal, then the cuttings must be planted in pre-prepared holes. The holes should be covered with fertile soil, after which the planted plants are watered abundantly.


Tritsirtis needs shelter for the winter. To protect the bushes from frost, they should be covered with a thick layer of peat or agrofibre. In the southern regions, where the climate is mild, and winters are warm, in principle, tricyrtis can be left uncovered for the winter, but experienced gardeners still recommend doing this, as it may suffer if very little snow falls in winter.

Diseases and pests

Tricirtis has a very high disease resistance. However, if it is grown in heavy soil and watered very abundantly, then the root system can rot due to stagnant water. For preventive purposes, sand should be added to the ground before planting during digging. And also try to develop such an irrigation system so that the water in the soil does not stagnate.

Slugs and snails can harm such a plant, they not only gnaw holes in the leaf plates, but also leave sticky phosphorescent traces. You will have to collect the gastropods with your hands. It is also recommended to cover the surface of the soil around the bushes with a layer of coarse bark or crushed egg shells, such pests move along it with great difficulty.

Thistle varieties

Cultivators have focused on only two types of plant.

  1. If you need a decorative flower for a summer residence, professionals recommend giving preference to varieties with large leaves that have a bright color. For the most part, all varieties corresponding to this description are imported.
  2. If you are looking for a variety for growing in agricultural fields, look at the Amulet, Debut and Panacea varieties. In July, the lower half of the stem will be exposed to representatives of this variety.

Milk thistle: biological description

In southern climates, it grows in the wild, and in some places has turned into a vicious weed. Recently, it is often planted in their areas due to its unpretentiousness and medicinal properties and the possibility of using it in food as a source of large amounts of trace elements.

Spotted leaves are unusually beautiful and allow you to use it in landscape design. As an ornamental plant, milk thistle looks good in single plantings against a background of greenery.

It looks beautiful among the stones and is planted mainly in the lower part of the alpine slide. In some areas, you can even find a hedge made from milk thistle.


Milk thistle is a medicinal plant, it should not be consumed in large quantities, and before taking decoctions and tinctures, it is better to consult your doctor!

In the wild, milk thistle is most often found in the more southern regions of our country, but also in Siberia. Therefore, if you travel to these areas, you can find and collect her seeds.

Milk thistle grows up to 1.5-2 m. It is easy to recognize by its large (up to 80 cm) green-white, spotted, shiny leaves with spines along the edges and a bare stem, pink inflorescences-baskets that appear in July-August.

Its inflorescences practically do not differ from other thistles. Therefore, if you come across a thistle, then look what color its leaves have - perhaps it is a milk thistle.

Lately, it is easy to find sachets of milk thistle seeds in seed stores. They can also be purchased from some pharmacies or other gardeners. So it will not be difficult to get this plant on your site.

Growing milk thistle, medicinal thorn in the garden

Milk thistle is most often popularly referred to as thistle, thorn. Grown as an annual, up to 1.5 m high, has beautiful bright leaves of a glossy dark green color with light spots. Does not lose its decorative effect throughout the season, blooms until late autumn. Can be used as a green fertilizer, embedded in the topsoil.

Milk thistle is not afraid of prolonged drought or temporary cold, is not damaged by diseases and pests, loves the sun. By growing milk thistle near the fence, you will add additional protection to your site from enemies, such as mice, because few people will like the thorns on the plant. Do not plant the plant along a garden path or near berry trees or bushes. The distance from the milk thistle to any other plant should be 1.5-2 m, otherwise you can be injured by its thorns.

Sowing milk thistle seeds

Since autumn, the site is fertilized for 1 square meter 40-60 g of complex mineral fertilizer mixed with 4 kg of compost and 1-2 glasses of wood ash. Milk thistle does not grow on heavy clay or waterlogged soil. In early spring, the beds are cut with a Fokin flat cutter to a depth of 3-5 cm, this will allow the site to be cleared of weeds and fluffed up the soil. It is not necessary to dig up the soil specially. In May, seeds are sown directly to the garden in spring or before winter, in more northern regions it is better to grow seedlings. Before sowing, the seeds are soaked in water for 2 hours, after which they are planted in a light fertile soil to a depth of 2-3 cm and the back of the rake is smoothed, as it were. The distance in a row between seeds is 5-10 cm, between rows is 50 cm. The first shoots appear in 7-10 days. When the seeds sprout, thinning is carried out, leaving 40 cm between the plants. When planting milk thistle seedlings, observe the distance between the seedlings 40-50 cm.

By the month of July, the milk thistle will grow to its maximum height, the flowering stage begins. This is a colorful process that seems to go on continuously, as the baskets on the shoots bloom over and over again.

Collection and storage

At the end of the season, the flower stalks are dried and used in flower arrangements. The seeds are harvested gradually as they ripen, from late August to October. It is better to collect seeds when the baskets begin to dry out, they turn yellow, and a white fluff appears. Then they are cut, dried and threshed. Store seeds in a dry place for 2-3 years.

The roots and leaves are harvested in the fall, when flowering has passed. The roots are washed under running water, dried and crushed. Storage of roots no more than 1 year in glass sealed containers.

Milk thistle has a lot of healing properties, mainly aimed at healing liver diseases (cirrhosis, poisoning with toxins, radiation, alcohol, jaundice). And also as an additional remedy in the treatment of the thyroid gland, radiculitis, hemorrhoids, dropsies, cholecystitis, psoriasis, acne, seizures and other diseases. It is known that such preparations as "Karsil", "Shrot" and "Silibor" contain milk thistle seeds. For medicinal purposes, seeds, roots, juice from leaves, flour from seeds are used, but seeds, which contain the miracle substance silymarin, are considered the most healing.

Milk thistle will decorate your home garden, will be a protection from enemies and will become a friend to your body. Although this plant has practically no contraindications, it is better to consult a doctor before using it.

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