Nutraceutical Milk Thistle Silymarin marianum Flavours, Fragrances and Ingredients

Botanical Name: Silymarin marianum
Common Names: St Mary’s Thistle, Holy Thistle, Blessed Thistle
Species: Asteraceae
Traditional Habitat: South Europe, North Africa, Asia and South RussiaToday: Grown commercially Australia, Germany, Austria, Eastern Europe and Mongolia.

Milk Thistle
Silymarin marianum

Milk thistle has been used for over 2,000 years. According to legend, the variegation on the leaves was caused by the Virgin Mary’s milk as it rad down the leaves, leading to the name marianum. Silybum is from the Greek silybon, a term used by Dioscorides for thistle like plants. In ancient Greece, Dioscorides wrote 40–90 AD in his book about approximately 600 medicinal plants and herbs that milk thistle tea was used as a remedy for snakebites.  

In the Middle Ages, people used milk thistle to treat different liver problems. The Herbal or Generall  Historie of Plant by John Gerard 1597 wrote that milk thistle was the best  remedy that grows against all melancholy diseases.

Nicholas Culpepper, a British herbalist, was first to record the value of milk thistle in treating

diseases of the liver and spleen in the late eighteenth century.

Recent studies show that active substances in milk thistle, particularly the antioxidant flavonoid silymarin, may protect the liver from damage caused by toxins, alcohol, and viruses, while also promoting the growth of new liver cells.

Silybum marianum is cultivated for food, medicines, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical applications.

The young leaves with spines removed are eaten raw or cooked as spinach like vegetable. Flower buds can be eaten like mini artichokes. The roots of first year plants are similar to salsify.

Botanical Innovations Milk Thistle Products for medicinal, nutraceutical, cosmeceutical and health and wellness applications include: Milk Thistle Oil and Milk Thistle Silymarin Extract.