Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) is native to the Mediterranean and a member of the Asteraceae family of botanicals. The plant can grow anywhere from 1 to 6 feet tall, and are comprised of their characteristic “spike” leaves and round, purple flower. A robust plant, it is capable of thriving and spreading quickly in dry, rocky and often inhospitable environments.
The most sought after element of the milk thistle is the flavonoid silymarin, found abundantly in its seeds. Silymarin has been known to have antioxidant properties leading to milk thistle being recognized in numerous medicinal applications. Milk thistle seeds can be easily ground into a powder, which can be mixed into teas or eaten directly, or whole seeds can be sprinkled on salads and other dishes and are often described to have a nutty flavor.