- Bram van Munster
- Site Admin
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- Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:34 pm
- Location: the Netherlands
Milk thistle is most commonly sought for its medicial properties of preventing and repairing liver damage.
Most parts of the plants are also edible and tasty. Until recently, it was commonly cultivated in Eurpoean vegetable gardens.
Leaves can be de-spined for use as salad greens or sautéed like collard greens; water-soaked stems prepared like asparugus; roots boiled or baked; flower pods used like artichoke heads.
This fairly typical thistle has red to purple flowers and shiny pale green leaves with white veins. Originally a native of Southern Europe through to Asia, it is now found throughout the world.
Milk thistle based supplements have been measured to have the highest mycotoxin concentrations of up to 37 mg/kg when compared amongst various plant-based dietary supplements and is therefor not recommended as food for sheep and cattle! It's toxic to them!
Milk thistle has also been known to be used as food. The roots can be eaten raw or boiled and buttered or par-boiled and roasted. The young shoots in spring can be cut down to the root and boiled and buttered. The spiny bracts on the flower head were eaten in the past like globe artichoke, and the stems (after peeling) can be soaked overnight to remove bitterness and then stewed. The leaves can be trimmed of prickles and boiled as a spinach substitute or they can also be added raw to salads.