Milk Thistle

Plant Ally: Milk Thistle

Common Name: Milk Thistle

Scientific Name:  Silybum marianum

Season: Autumn/Winter

Applications & Features

  1. Following on our cooling-down, Autumnal theme of liver detox, the Milk Thistle continues in this vein in its application. 
  2. There are many edible parts and components of the Milk Thistle, with the mature seeds being the most commonly ingested by humans. 
  3. Brewed as a tea, the Milk Thistle is another medicinal plant we have come to rely on for calming our Nervous System.
  4. A pollinator, Milk Thistle encourages indigent growth of natives and supports our ecosystem. 
  5. A misunderstood, prolific plant, it has often been referred to as an invasive weed. The flower requires full sun to flourish, and harvesting with haste upon the flowers death will prevent an overrun of milk thistle in your garden.

The Milk Thistle can grow prolifically, and can pose a risk to kids and fauna alike. Allocating a low-traffic area to your Milk Thistle will prevent it from harming curious little hands or paws. The Milk Thistle is a misunderstood plant with many sharp, serrated edges that aren’t conducive to being a go-to for many gardeners and livestock owners.
However – when planted and harvested with intention and care, Milk Thistle can be so very beneficial to us all.

Finding & Harnessing
A deeply-rooted germinator, Milk Thistle seeds can be planted in moist (not wet) soil, either inside in planters or pots, or in your garden bed.  The prolific roots will need room to expand and lengthen, so a deep bed is needed long-term for the health of the plant. Once germinated into shoots, the plant will need full sunlight to propagate. The roots, leaves, stems, flowers and seeds are all edible – but take care around the spikes! The most commonly consumed component of the Milk Thistle is the mature seed.  


The flower of the Milk Thistle is a stunningly bright, purple-pink crown of leaves around a large circular flowerhead. The medicinal properties help to allay overload on the liver and simultaneously calm the nervous system. This cleansing ability promotes radiance from inside, out!

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