Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)
The decorative Mary Thistle with its flower basket of a lush cluster of purple tubular flowers is originally native to Southern Europe and North Africa.
The shiny black, hard-shelled seeds ripen on the flower base of the plant, which is also known as “wild artichoke” in France. In addition to the fatty oil with a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids, these seeds contain flavonoids, which are the most valuable ingredients. The liver-active substance complex silymarin accounts for up to 3 %.
The fruits of milk thistle have anti-inflammatory, membrane-stabilising and cell membrane-protecting, antioxidant, immunomodulating and antifibrotic effects in cases of liver poisoning and liver problems. Silymarin is used in orthodox medicine as the liver protective agent in cases of poisoning by the tuberous leaf fungus. Phytotherapy also uses the healing power of milk thistle seeds in regeneration after previous poisoning, in digestive disorders, liver diseases of unspecific origin and fatty liver syndrome. Today, there is probably no popular liver and gall bladder remedy without milk thistle extracts.
In veterinary medicine, the special properties of this medicinal herb are used to relieve disturbed liver functions, which may be caused by protein overload, metabolic diseases or mycotoxins in the feed.