We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Such as when is the best time to snip the flowers to allow them to dry? Each cone shaped flower on the milk thistle is capable of producing approximately 200 seeds. Milky and whtie veins are visible on the leaves via a close inspection of them. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Cut the seed heads off the milk thistle plant and place them in a paper bag. To do this, put the milk thistle seeds into a blender or a coffee grinder. Simply because a remedy ingredient is natural, does not mean it is safe to use for everyone. Milk thistle itself is often considered a weed. Store dehydrated portions of the milk thistle plant in an airtight container like a Mason jar, or seal them with a vacuum sealer machine. You will know which seeds are the most mature because they turn brown and are protected by the pappus, a circle of hairs formed from the modified calyx that appears as silvery white fluff. While I will defer to experts about much of the Bible, that yarn about the Virgin Mary is DEFINITELY not in the Bible. I would definitely wait to de-seed until the seed heads are completely browned (no green remaining). The silymarin from milk thistle is in the seeds, which are used to make extracts or tinctures for medicinal use. Last Updated: May 10, 2019 Roots and stalks were also cleaned and used in the same types of common menu items. It typically grows up to at least 3 feet tall. Again, do not attempt to harvest milk thistle without wearing durable work gloves. Grind the seeds into a fine powder. Watch for milk thistle flowers to start drying out and producing silver-white seed heads, called pappus. If left unattended, milk thistle can take over a field thanks to the easy and rapid dispersal of its seeds by even a slight wind. They are hairless and alternate up the stem of the plant. Take your scissors and cut the flower heads when they are young if you wish to eat them. It has not been evaluated by the FDA. This edible and healing weed gets its name from the Bible. You will know that it is time to begin harvesting the flower cones turn begin to dry out and the purple heads on the cones turn to white. I have quite a bit of milk thistle in my yard and was considering using it in one of my next brews. Even though milk thistle is indigenious to Asia, Europe, and North Africa, it has now been naturalized in the United States, Australia, and South America. You'll see the chaff blow away from the seeds as you pour them into the bucket or storage container. This extract, commonly known as a tincture, is administered directly into the body. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. Put on heavy gloves and protective clothing. The skills we have honed are just as vital to our survival as the tools and gear we stockpile. The plant is used in natural medicinal remedies, to brew as a tea, and as a recipe ingredient. Store the tincture for several years in a dark container with a dropper. This biennial plant grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Native American tribes often used milk thistle to treat skin rashes, diseases, and boils. How to use Milk Thistle. Most people consider milk thistle a pesky weed because it can grow tall and thorny, making it hard to even get near. Put 14.3 g (1 tablespoon) of crushed milk thistle … The purple cones that grow atop the tall and thin “branches” of this bush-style plant die off, leaving white fluffy where the thin purple flower petals had grown. To grow milk thistle outdoors, spread the seed directly over the desired area in the spring or fall. % of people told us that this article helped them. The milk thistle plant should not be expected to mature at the same time. The entire plant is edible, when properly prepared and harvested, and can be used in a wide variety of recipes to bolster their nutritional content and flavor. Most people consider milk thistle a pesky weed because it can grow tall and thorny, making it hard to even get near. The more dry the seed heads are, the more readily the seeds will fall off. Simply boil or steam them until they are tender. Not a lot to show for this much peril. Let the heads dry completely in a paper bag and loosen the seeds. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 15,502 times. The plant’s extract might cause estrogenic effects. The yield per seed head was a bit less than a tablespoon per head. I am chuckling. Have any of you used milk thistle for bittering? Even if you have planned extensively to bug in, the possibility that you could be forced to bug out instead and rely perhaps solely upon your survival foraging knowledge, does exist. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. When dealing with a particularly dry or spikey plant, I can even feel the tiny yet sharp thorns through my lined leather work gloves. Milk thistle is a heady, spiny plant with white-veined leaves and purple flowers. Pour the milk thistle seeds from the sack into the bucket. Or add them to the tea brew. The flowers typically range in size from about 1 1/2 inches to nearly 6 inches long. Leaves on the milk thistle plant are lanceolate or oblong in shape. Your support helps wikiHow to create more in-depth illustrated articles and videos and to share our trusted brand of instructional content with millions of people all over the world. It also contains the super-antioxidant glutathione. Dehydrating the harvested roots from the plant may take up to 12 hours in a standard home dehydrator. Take your scissors and cut the flower heads when they are young if you wish to eat them. And any glove that allows you a modicum of dexterity will not faze these things. The pappus on the heads will be dispersed or fall out during the air drying process, so they must be removed and placed in a sack as noted above. If left untended, milk thistle seed heads will break on their own, making harvest impossible. One milk thistle flower contains up to 190 seeds, and about 90 percent of those remain viable after harvest. The seed of the milk thistle plant is commonly used to treat chronic inflammatory liver disorders and it is among the top-selling medicinal herbs. To use the powder, mix 2 to 3 tablespoons (16 to 24 g) into a smoothie. However, it is loaded with medicinal benefits. Afterwards, they can be stored in an airtight container. Crush milk thistle leaves and seeds with a mortar until they're finely powdered. All Rights Reserved. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries.". Cooked milk thistle leaves make a superb substitute for spinach. In order to control its spread it is advised to harvest the seeds before they become over-mature. Milk thistle leaves are very prickly and the spines can easily penetrate the skin. The following growing guidelines offer valuable advise about how to cultivate and take care of milk thistle at home. Before embarking on any type of natural remedy journey, always do your own research and consult with your physician first. The cone flower portion of the plant was commonly used at the time as a food that was eaten in a similar manner as the artichoke is consumed today. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. All Rights Reserved. A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Sockeye–Hm, may be a maturity thing. Hi, I am curious that most pictures I see of milk thistle seeds are like yours, a pale seed. An entire plant can contain (and release) around 6,350 seeds. Yes, you can use the leaves of this plant to make a milder version of the tea made with seeds. HerbaZest.com. Global Healing Center: Tips for Growing Milk Thistle, The Real Seed Catalogue: Home Threshing and Winnowing Seed. While milk thistle grows abundantly in the wild nearly throughout the United States, it is possible to purchase seeds to cultivate this plant – or purchase it in supplement form at health food stores. Leaves will not usually take more than 3 – 4 hours to dry completely in a typical home dehydrators on the nut and herb setting. What I have learned to do is proceed slowly, use scissors to trim off any visible barbs, and leave a long enough stem so that I can hold on to the stem and not the bud itself when removing the seeds. How to Harvest Milk Thistle Seeds and Cutting Back Garden Plants If you are growing milk thistle to add color to the garden, prune the top stems off of the plants as soon as the flowers start to deteriorate.