milk thistle March is here and a new season is just around the corner. If you’re looking to do some spring cleansing, allow us to introduce our featured bulk herb of the month, milk thistle (Silybum marianum). This herb has historically been used to support liver function and its natural detoxification process and to treat gall bladder and kidney problems. Native to the Mediterranean region but now widespread around the world, milk thistle is a member of the Asteraceae (sunflower) family, along with lettuce, artichokes, daisies, and other thistles. It is considered an invasive weed in some regions (like Washington state).

A powerful antioxidant in milk thistle seeds called silymarin is thought to repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances and inhibit these toxins from binding to the cells in the first place. Silymarin is also anti-inflammatory and thus is often suggested for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis.

You can find milk thistle seeds in our bulk herb department. They have a slightly bitter, oily taste and a faint aroma. Use them to make a tea, capsules, or a tincture. Or sprinkle them in salads, sandwiches, or trail mix. You can also grind them and incorporate into beverages, baked goods, or skin care products; their antioxidant properties can help protect skin from aging effects.

View our full list of bulk herbs, spices, and teas here.