Skin Care and Treatments of Melbourne Dermatology - Milk Thistle — About and Basic Preparation

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Milk Thistle — About and Basic Preparation

Whole Milk Thistle

Whole unprepared milk thistle.


Remove the section which joins each stalk at the base — it traps more grit than you can get out — and discard.

Separate the milk thistle and soak in several changes of a large amount of water, remembering to drain water from the bottom, rather than turning over in a colander to avoid filtering sediment through the milk thistle.

Freshly Cut Milk Thistle

Freshly cut milk thistle quickly leeches a milky substance for which people of ancient civilizations found medicinal uses. The uncooked milk has an extremely bitter taste.


Chop the milk thistle thinly and sauteé or wilt lightly with freshly crushed garlic. Finish with lemon juice.

Increasing cooking time reduces the distinctive taste (which is similar to spinach) but probably reduces the value of some of its beneficial constituents.


The constituents of the thistle's milk include silybin, isosilybin, silidianin, and silychristin, biologically active antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

Consumption improves "anti-aging" defense against free radicals, systemically, including throughout the skin.

A small number of skin care products contain silymarin for the purpose of limiting skin aging by protecting against UV-damage to the epidermis in conjunction with sunscreens.

Further information is available in the silymarin monograph.

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