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August 08, 2022

Science > Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle

Common Name

Milk Thistle

Scientific Name

Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.


Milk thistle is a one or two- years old plant which grows up to 1.5 meters. Milk thistle has been classified in Dipsacaceae family, Carduus genus. New botanical system has classified it in Compositae family. Edge of its leaves is wavy and barbed and leaves have white veins and are shiny green. Its flowers are piped and red violet color. Its fruit (seed) is egg-shaped, light-dark brown with hard shell which is protected by hair-shaped, white and silk objects. Its violet flowers have about 190 seeds which have the most medicinal properties. These seeds contain silymarins, an effective compound in Milk thistle extract. Its stalk has ridge and thistle. The main origin of Milk thistle is Mediterranean region. Milk thistle is native to Europe, Middle East, North Africa and some parts of Mediterranean. However it is found all over the world. Many gardeners consider this plant as a weed due to its high growth rate. Usually, it is cultivated on dry rocky soil of Europe, Australia, Canada, China and North and South America as a medicinal plant. Milk thistle fruit (seed) are harvested shortly before it is ripe; when the fruit ripens, the seeds get out of shell. In France, its young leaves, upper part of buds and stem have popularity as a delicious food.

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