Underrated herb health experts say you should take 40+ for gut health: Milk Thistle

In an episode of the mindbodygreen podcastphytotherapy expert Bill Rawls, MD, mentioned that “plants are the best chemists on earth”. He suggested that we start considering adding herbs to our daily routines because of their benefits. In fact, he continued to share with mindbodygreen the five most underrated herbs that can boost your health: rhodiola, reishi mushroom, turmeric, milk thistle and shilajit.

Today we focus on milk thistle. What exactly is this herb and how does it affect our health? We asked Julie Levin, Certified Medical Herbalist and Founder of leaf people discover. Keep reading to learn more.

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What is milk thistle and how does it affect the body?

According to Levin, “Milk thistle seed extract is a mild remedy with low potential for toxicity.” She adds, “It is an uplifting herb with warming qualities (improves circulation), helps restore overall balance in the body and aids digestion due to its pungent and bitter qualities.”

What is the best way to consume milk thistle?

Levin shares that getting alcohol extract from the seeds of the herb is the best way to go. “You can find milk thistle extract at most health food stores and online. You can also make your own from the seeds,” she tells us. “A strong decoction will also work, but the extract is usually easier to take and maintain a consistent dose.”

For digestive stimulation, Levin suggests putting 2-4ml of tincture in 4-6oz of water, 20 minutes before eating.

At the end of the day, Levin notes that milk thistle (which is also known as Carduus marianus) is “one of the best remedies for the liver.” It is “particularly known for its liver detoxification and liver protective properties”.

“Milk thistle also revitalizes the blood and promotes tissue repair, so it’s great for overall well-being,” Levin concludes.

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