The fruit of this herb is also known as St Mary's milk and is commonly used for its protective effects on the liver. Legend has it Mary's milk was spilled when breastfeeding baby Jesus and St Mary's milk thistle grew where the milk had spilt with its milk stained leaves.
Milk thistle is one of the largest types of thistles growing up to 1.5m tall. It is an annual plant which is mostly odourless with a nasty bitter taste. Milk thistle is native to Asia and Africa and today is found growing all over the world. In Australia it is classed as a noxious weed but is also cultivated commercially as a medicine in some parts. The white hairs are removed and the fruits and roots can be used for medicinal purposes.
The active constituents found in milk thistle are used as a mild laxative and its liver protective properties, they include;
Milk thistle is used in supportive treatments for inflammatory inflammatory liver conditions and liver cirrhosis. It can also be taken as a mild laxative and for gallbladder problems. Milk thistle is most frequently used to protect the liver and in some cases to help treat varicose veins. Milk thistle is most commonly taken as a tea, tincture or as herbal capsules.
(Not intended as medical advice)
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The dried fruit of Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) has long been used as a culinary spice and as a traditional medicine, and today it is ubiquitous in most cuisines. Black Pepper is made from the plant’s unripened green drupes (stone fruit), which are called “peppercorns.” They are briefly boiled and dried or cooked. Native to southern and southeast Asia, Black Pepper’s use in Indian cooking dates to the first century BC, and it became popular across Europe during the Roman Empire. In ancient Greece, it was so valued that it was used as currency. The active constituent called Piperine is what gives Black Pepper its pungency.