One herb can often be found growing bright and beautiful at the side of California highways and makes a pretty addition to summer bouquets on top of aiding digestion… meet milk thistle.
With summer right around the corner (we can say that now, right? It’s just a couple months away!), many of us have started to change up our routines in preparation for warmer days. Along with bringing our workouts outdoors and transitioning our skincare routines, one thing I’m willing to bet we’re all anticipating is the start of farmers’ market season. But with the reemergence of fresh produce and fruit comes the very real potential of needing to support our digestion as it makes the switch from processing the heavier fare of cold weather months to the lighter offerings of spring and summer. Along with paying close attention to how our digestion is feeling and adding supportive probiotics, there are a host of herbs and supplements that can help your body make the most of the incredible fresh food that’s finally available. One such herb can often be found growing bright and beautiful at the side of California highways and makes a pretty addition to summer bouquets on top of aiding digestion… meet milk thistle.
What is milk thistle?
Milk thistle, a.k.a. Silybum marianum, is technically a weed… but a beautiful one. In the same family as sunflowers and daisies, milk thistle’s usage is believed to date as far back as 40 A.D. when it was used medicinally to support the liver and kidneys. More recently milk thistle has been popular as a tea and dietary supplement to support the gallbladder and liver, along with helping digestion.
Milk thistle benefits:
Milk thistle could boast digestion-supporting benefits thanks to its potential ability to support enzyme production. More digestive enzymes mean more digestive support. Milk thistle could also support liver and kidney function by helping to draw toxins from the body that could cause a variety of issues, by removing these toxins, milk thistle could support everything from healthy skin to immune function. Additionally, milk thistle plays host to several compounds called silibinin, silidianin and silicristin, that could provide additional protection to the liver and kidneys.
How to use milk thistle:
Besides its appearance on the side of highways and in fields, milk thistle is most often taken as a tea (try it with raw honey) or supplement. Milk thistle seeds can occasionally be found in bulk in health food stores. As always, speak to your doctor or naturopath before beginning a new supplement regimen.
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