St Marys thistle: botanical image of the St Marys thistle plant

St Mary’s Thistle

Silybum marianum

Family: Asteraceae

Bio-Live: St. Mary’s thistle is a key herb in Bio-Live Liver. 

Description: An annual to biennial herb that grows to 35-125cm (1-4ft), in height. The leaves are dark green, oblong with spiny margins that give them a mottled appearance. The spiny flowers are deep violet in colour, approximately 1-2cm (half inch) in diameter and sit above rows of spiny bracts. The fruit is 6-7mm, wrinkled with a yellow ring near the apex.

Habit and cultivation: Native to the Mediterranean it now is widespread throughout the world. Growing wild and thriving on waste lands, it is also cultivated as an ornamental dried flower. Likes a sunny position, in a well drained soil. Easy to grow and matures in less than a year.

Actions (known for): Hepatoprotective, anti-oxidant, galactogogue, demulcent, cholagogue and digestive tonic.

History: The use of Silybum goes back 2,000 years; it was traditionally used to increase breast milk production, treat depression (traditionally associated with the liver), eaten as a vegetable (the flower heads boiled and eaten like artichokes) when there were no fresh ones available after winter. Culpepper recommended boiling the leaves as a blood cleanser. Traditionally the milk white veins of the leaves were found originally in the milk of the Virgin Mary, who fell upon a thistle plant. The Saxons also believed that if the seeds were worn around the neck, snakes would not come near.

Parts used: Seeds.

Constituents (bio available chemicals): Flavanolignans including; silybin, silychristin, silydianin that are collectively known as silymarin. Flavonoid – silymarine. Bitter principle. Amines including tyramine and histamine. Polyacetylenes.

Indications: Liver tonic, chronic liver and gallbladder disorders such as cirrhosis, damage from chemical poisoning and alcohol abuse, cholangitis, pericholangitis, gall stones, chronic hepatitis (including B and C), as a supportive during acute hepatitis. Stimulates the flow of breast milk. Externally: can be used for psoriasis, eczema, burns, wounds and sores.

Dosage: Seeds: 4-9g daily. Liquid extract (1:2): 30-60ml per week. Absorption of silybum is enhanced by lecithin.

Join our journey - Sign up and receive 10% off your first order

You’ll also be the first to hear about our latest products and promotions as well as finding out more about the fascinating world of microbes.

Newsletter Signup Sidebar - recaptcha


Share This