Milk thistle tea is quick and easy to make, and the primary way folks use this wild edible plant for its proclaimed natural medicinal properties.
Studies about the prowess of milk thistle to heal or prevent disease are sparse and remain ongoing, but in a survival situation when you have to be your own doctor, knowing how to identify and use this common “weed” might be highly beneficial.
This easy to identify plant grows in nearly every region of the United States, but can be purchased in the herb and produce section at some grocery stores – and is sold in seed form in garden centers.
Milk thistle is also commonly referred to as Mary thistle and holy thistle.
Milk thistle tea has been brewed to aid a variety of conditions since the time of ancient Greece.
Originally, the tea was used to treat liver ailments and snake bites, but was later used to treat skin rashes, kidney disease, and spleen problems. Due to its gentle reaction on the skin, milk thistle tea mixtures or extracts are often used in modern beauty care products.
When mice that were fed milk thistle tea and an unhealthy diet that should have caused them to put on weight, they surprised researcher by losing weight instead.
Tea mixtures may also be helpful in protecting the skin from UV damage, reducing drug toxicity damage to the liver, combating infectious diseases by stimulating the immune system, and with insulin resistance.
The tea has a slightly sweet and milk flavor that is easy on even an upset stomach. The taste of milk thistle tea is often compared to that of dandelion tea. Both types of medicinal teas boast a slight floral flavor with “earthy” aftertaste.
Typically, milk thistle tea is sweetened with milk or honey, or both to add not just flavor but a creamier texture.
Milk thistle tea can be brewed (and is sold) as both a dried loose lease or fresh tea. Although this tea can be purchased in traditional tea bag form, many foragers and herbalists dry and powder the seeds before making the tea.
Milk Thistle Tea Recipe
- 1 tablespoon milk thistle seeds fresh loose, dried, or powdered
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon whole milk optional
- Boil the water on the stovetop in a kettle or small pot – or in the microwave for about 2 and a half to 3 minutes.
- Steep the milk thistle into the water for up to 5 minutes.
- Strain away the natural matter using a fine mesh strainer or a common kitchen strainer lined with coffee filters.
- Add in the honey and stir thoroughly.
- Add in the milk, if using, and stir completely again.
- Bring water to a boil and add milk thistle seeds, leaves, or tea bag.
- Steep the milk thistle tea for up to five minutes.
- Strain using a fine mesh strainer and add flavorings such as milk or honey.
Because milk thistle is related to ragweed, folks who suffer from related allergies should not consume this wild edible plant or items made from it.
The milk thistle can mimic the way estrogen functions in the body, and could cause complications or ill effects on women who have endometriosis, breast cancer, fibroid tumors, or uterine cancer.
Pregnant and nursing women are also urged not to use milk thistle due to the unknown nature of the impact it could have on either the unborn child or on breast milk.
When allowed to cool to at least room temperature, milk thistle tea with honey (omit the milk) can be used asa wound wash, skin rash or boil treatment.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and the advice given here is for information purposes only! Before consuming milk thistle tea, consult your physician.
Have you tried this tea, what did you think? Don’t forget to pin this on Pinterest!
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.