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Milk Thistle Seed Whole

Milk Thistle Seed

Carduus marianus

Origin: Poland
From£8.20 per kg

Native to Southern Europe and Asia, milk thistle now grows in a number of countries across the world. Part of the Asteraceae plant family, milk thistle has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. It contains the active compound silymarin, which is an antioxidant.

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History and background

Related to the humble daisy and ragweed, milk thistle first appeared in Europe but arrived on US soil along with colonists. Now, it can be found across the continent, as well as in Africa, Australia and Asia.

Often called ‘silymarin’ after its active ingredient, other names include blessed milk thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary’s thistle, Marian thistle, Scotch thistle and variegated thistle.

How to use milk thistle seed

Milk thistle seed has been used extensively as a herbal remedy for many hundreds of years. Originally, it was used predominantly to treat liver and gallbladder issues, although scientific research has been unable to conclusively verify the effectiveness of milk thistle seed for these uses.

Some other studies have indicated that the seed may benefit those suffering from diabetes. Although the evidence isn’t entirely conclusive, some studies have found that the seed can help lower blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes. It may also help lower cholesterol levels, improving heart health.

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Milk thistle seeds can promote healthy liver function in horses as well as humans. Animals suffering from laminitis and allergies can benefit from taking this ingredient as a dietary supplement, and it can help horses recover more effectively from illness.

Milk thistle seeds are safe to eat and can be ground and mixed into bread or salads to add a nutty flavour and a nutritional boost. They can also be ground into smoothies for a tasty breakfast or crushed and steeped in boiling water to make a herbal tea, which can be sweetened with honey for improved taste.

It is commonly believed that the seeds can have a ‘cleansing’ effect on the liver, reducing the likelihood of future health issues. Past research has linked milk thistle to improved insulin resistance, lowering cholesterol levels. This natural ingredient can also be added to skin creams. The seed extract contains silymarin, a flavonoid that contributes to healthier skin, including reduced inflammation and signs of ageing. The enzymes can work to soothe irritation, gently remove dirt and oil from pores, and help clarify the skin, making it a natural remedy for certain skin symptoms.

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Delivery Information

Most of our ingredients can be delivered within 2-3 working days, with free delivery to the UK mainland on all orders over £25 and a 30 day returns policy. For more information, visit our Delivery & Returns page.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Milk thistle has a range of potential uses for both humans and animals, some of which include dietary supplements, skin creams and a healthy addition to herbal teas, smoothies and salads.

It’s believed that the seeds offer a range of potential health benefits, such as complementary therapy for liver damage, promoting healthy skin, reducing cholesterol levels, reducing insulin resistance to help manage diabetes as well as providing antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects.

While the evidence for these benefits is promising, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of milk thistle's effects. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before consuming milk thistle seeds as a treatment.

Side effects are very rare but can include bloating, itching, nausea and diarrhoea.

As a general rule of thumb, herbs should be stored for no longer than 2–3 years, but the seeds can last longer if stored in a cool, dry place.