How to Prepare Milk Thistle

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Boost your health with milk thistle tea.
Boost your health with milk thistle tea. (Image: health image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

Milk thistle is considered a medicinal plant; milk thistle seeds have been used to treat extreme cases of hepatitis and liver degeneration with remarkable effects. Milk thistle tea can be prepared using either the seeds or the leaves of the plant. The seeds have a greater medicinal benefit than the leaves, as they contain silymarin, but the leaves still have benefits, particularly for those with liver, gall bladder and mild digestive complaints.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon milk thistle seeds or 1 1/2 milk thistle leaves
  • Pestle and mortar
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • 1 to 3 cups water
  • Small pan
  • Stove
  • Sieve

Milk Thistle Tea From Seeds

Crush the milk thistle seeds with a mortar and pestle; transfer them to a small pan.

Use a mortar and pestle for easy crushing.
Use a mortar and pestle for easy crushing. (Image: pestle and mortar image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

Add three cups of water and bring to the boil on the stovetop.

Take care when boiling water.
Take care when boiling water. (Image: professional cooking range with pot image by Canakris from Fotolia.com)

Remove the pan from the stovetop. Steep the milk thistle seeds for around 20 minutes, then strain with the sieve.

Use a sieve to strain the tea.
Use a sieve to strain the tea. (Image: sieb image by Bine from Fotolia.com)

Milk Thistle Tea From Leaves

Chop 1 1/2 milk thistle leaves.

Use a knife to finely chop the leaves.
Use a knife to finely chop the leaves. (Image: knife image by dethchimo from Fotolia.com)

Boil water and pour one cup of it over the leaves.

One cup of boiling water is required.
One cup of boiling water is required. (Image: water splash - bottle and water in a moment image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com)

Steep the leaves for five to ten minutes, then strain.

You only need to steep the leaves for up to ten minutes.
You only need to steep the leaves for up to ten minutes. (Image: clock image by Elena Nabokova from Fotolia.com)

Tips & Warnings

  • If you prepare milk thistle tea from seeds, drink one cup 30 minutes before each meal and one cup just before going to bed. After sticking to this for three days, reduce your intake to three cups per day.
  • If you prepare milk thistle tea from leaves, the recommended dose is two or three glasses per day.
  • To treat specific health issues, other herbs can be added to the tea prepared with milk thistle seeds. For better liver health, add peppermint seeds and fennel seeds. For stomach complaints, add dandelion plant and root, chicory root and fennel seeds. To ease discomfort from varicose veins, add calendula flowers and witch hazel leaves.
  • Always seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before starting a new healthcare regime, particularly if you have a medical condition or are taking other drugs, herbs or supplements.
  • There have been some reported side effects of milk thistle use, including allergic reactions, skin rashes and heartburn. Severe adverse reactions are rare, but if you do experience any side effects, consult your doctor immediately.

References

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