Milk thistle is frequently prescribed for breastfeeding mothers to promote increased breast milk secretion. Although the herb is considered safe for nursing mothers, it should be acquired from a reputable source and prescribed by an herbalist, naturopathic physician, or other healthcare professional familiar with its use.
Milk thistle has some estrogen-like effects that may stimulate the flow of breast milk in women who are breast-feeding infants. It may also be used to start late menstrual periods. Milk thistle’s estrogen-like effect may also have some usefulness for men with prostate cancer.
Milk thistle ( Silybum marianum or Cardus marianum ) is a plant used for treating liver disorders, breast-feeding problems , and other illnesses. The active ingredient of the herb, silymarin, is found in the ripe seeds of the plant. The milk thistle plant has a long stem, green leaves with white spots, and pink to purple spiky flowered head (which true to its name, resembles a thistle). The plant is native to Europe and grows in the wild in the United States and South America . Other common names for the plant include Mary thistle, St. Mary thistle, Marian thistle, and lady’s thistle.
Milk thistle, in any of its forms, is scientifically proven by hundreds of clinical studies to be the #1 recommended natural herb to protect your liver against virtually all types of damage. When shopping for a milk thistle supplement, or any supplement, a standardized supplement is recommended so you are sure to get the same amount of the active, beneficial ingredient(s) in each dose.
Milk thistle seed has a low level of water solubility, so infusions (or teas) made from the herb are weaker than milk thistle tinctures and extracts. An infusion of milk thistle can be prepared by pouring a cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of seeds that have been ground to a fine texture. After the mixture steeps for 10-20 minutes, the herb is strained out and the mixture can be drunk. Instead of straining, the herb can also be placed into an infuser ball, tea bag, or a piece of cheesecloth or muslin and removed after steeping. Individuals can drink two to three cups of the infusion daily.