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Milk Thistle


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Milk Thistle



Growing Information:

Milk Thistle

DAYS TO GERMINATION: 5-15 days

SOWING TIME: Spring

SEEDING METHOD: Direct or Transplant

SUNLIGHT PREFERENCE: Sun

PLANT HEIGHT: 24-30"

PLANT SPACING: 12"

HARDINESS ZONES: Zones 5-9

Habitat and Description


Growing Milk Thistle
CULTURAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Plant the seeds indoors. Push the seeds just below the surface at a depth of about three millimeters. Plant biennial varieties of milk thistle in early summer and annual varieties in early spring. Keep the seeds at a temperature of 12 to 15 degrees Celsius for three weeks so they'll germinate.
  • Select a permanent site in your garden for milk thistle. It can grow in partial shade, but will need at least 7 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day to go to seed. Milk thistles can generally tolerate a wide range of soil types and the ideal soil is midway between sand and loam.
  • Plant milk thistle outside. These plants are quite hardy and can also be planted outside directly from seed. Plant biennials outside in early summer and annuals after the last frost.
  • Maintain milk thistle. These plants can tolerate both wet and dry soil, so you don't generally need to water them. Prune any dead flower heads before the flowers release their seed. This practice is known as "deadheading" and will encourage the milk thistle to produce more flowers. Remove any unwanted milk thistle plants.


Milk Thistle


The benefits of Milk Thistle

Currently, more and more scientific studies are looking into the herbal properties and used of milk thistle. Known for centuries as a "liver tonic", milk thistle is high in a chemical component called silymarin, the active agent in its liver-protective capacities. Milk thistle has also been reported to greatly improve the overall functioning of the liver, and is used for reducing cirrhosis of the liver, chronic liver inflammation, damage done to the liver through the intake of alcohol and other intoxicants, as well as gallbladder disease. It may also be used to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the growth of cancer cells in the breast, cervix and prostate. It has also been known to reduce the toxic effects of a hangover, and is used to help individuals withdrawing from opiates.





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