Other Uses: Food (Edible Plant) and Cosmetics

Use as food (edible plant)

Until the end of the 19th century milk thistle was cultured throughout Europe as a vegetable.1 The young leaves were used for salads or boiled in a similar manner to spinach.2, 3 The stems are edible and nutritious, but the spikes have caused some fatalities among cattle. The boiled flower heads are eaten in a similar way to artichoke. The roasted seeds are used as substitute to coffee. The roots are eaten in the same way as salsify. The seeds were an important source of nutrition in times of famine.4


Milk thistle oil is used for the production of cosmetics. It has a positive effect on skin regeneration processes and appropriate moisturising of the skin.3

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  1. 1. (2008) The Gale encyclopedia of alternative medicine, Gale Cengage. ISBN: 1414448724
  2. 2. Podgórscy Barbara i Adam (2004) Polski zielnik kulinarny. Kurpisz, Poznań. ISBN: 83-88841-74-2
  3. 3. Wielgosz T. (2008) Wielka księga ziół polskich. Publicat S.A., Poznań. ISBN 978-83-245-9538-9.
  4. 4. Duke J. (2008). Duke's handbook of medicinal plants of the Bible. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.