Milk Thistle is a biennial herb growing from 1 - 1.5 metres, bearing purple florets in spring/summer each year. Leaves can be eaten cooked as a type of spinach, while the young florets can be eaten like artichokes. The seeds contain a mixture of flavanolignans (2-3%) colectively known as silymarin. Seeds also contain up to 30% proteins and 30% lipids.
Silymarin extracts are used for their hepatoprotective (liver protecting) properties, especially after poisoning with Amanita mushrooms. Also for chronic liver inflammation and cirrhosis. One part of silymarin, called silybinin, reactivates protein synthesis in the liver that is normally blocked by mushroom toxins.
Care and Cultivation
Sow fresh seed in a rich soil mix in spring/summer. Well drained soil in full sun. Fertilise frequently in the warmer months. Florets should be collected as they dry but before they split and release seeds which have an attached 'wing' to aid dispersal. Please check local laws before planting, as this plant may be subject to control as a weed in certain parts of Australia.
20 seeds per packet