Milk thistle tea is a popular drink with some interesting potential medicinal effects in the body. This fast-growing plant has spread all around the world from its original habitat in Southeast Asia. The milk thistle plant is prominent, up to ten feet tall and topped with a fuchsia flower in the spring and summer. Its leaves are pointy and unkempt, with flimsy but threatening spiney crenellations around their edges. It’s no wonder that milk thistle drew the attention of ancient healers, nor is it that the prolific weed has continued to show its potential use for health and wellness.
Several studies have analyzed milk thistle’s potential for various medical usages. Not every study agrees, and more research is needed to understand if effects observed in the test tube are replicated in the human body. Compounds found in milk thistle have been found to be active in various circumstances. It’s likely that milk thistle tea may impart some desirable effects. Here are a few reasons people drink milk thistle tea, all of which are areas of interest for science.
- Liver Damage. Silymarin is one of the chemicals in milk thistle that contributes to its unique flavor. It is also the chemical that provides the greatest benefit potential for milk thistle. Silymarin may help the liver protect itself against disease and damage from substance abuse. People drink milk thistle tea (and other supplements and preparations) in order to both prevent damage and with the intent of potentially reversing damage that already exists. There needs to be additional study to understand how this process works, but it has been observed to such an extent that people should feel free to take milk thistle for liver complaints without worry. The plant’s side effects are minimal at worst and do not affect most people.
- Treatment for poisons. Ancient herbalists and physicians discovered that milk thistle may be able to prevent death in some mushroom poisonings which would otherwise cause mortality by liver failure. Specifically, milk thistle is reputed to counteract death cap mushrooms. Even if this is a very particular case which you will be unlikely to experience in your own life, milk thistle’s response to this form of poison is believed to point out its potential to support liver health.
- Irregular Cell Growth. There are many diseases which result from irregular or unregulated cell growth. It is unknown if or to what extent these effects may occur in the body, but the process continues to be observed. It’s important to understand that if such a condition is present in a patient’s body, milk thistle tea must not be taken without consulting with a physician as it can have unwanted interactions with pharmaceutical drugs used for these sort of conditions.
Milk thistle continues to be of interest to the healing community, both traditional and academic. It’s interesting that a plant with so much potential is also so widespread and accessible. Almost all the medications produced from milk thistle come from its seeds, but the tea made from the plant tissues contain some of the same desirable natural chemicals, like silymarin. Milk thistle tea is available from many supplement retailers, and it likely grows in your area. Whether you make it yourself or buy it from a vendor, this is an herbal tonic that will likely find an important place in your supplement routine.