Milk thistle is a pasture plant found throughout Europe and the Pacific Northwest of the US, although it is indigenous to the Mediterranean. Like other thistles, the plant protects itself with sharp thorns, which are memorable when brushed against.
For centuries, the entire milk thistle plant (sans thorns) has been cultivated for food, most notably in European monastery gardens. The plant contains compounds collectively known as silymarin, which are toxic to livestock but provide the modern emergency antidote to mushroom poisoning in people.
Milk thistle supports the liver's natural detoxification process.
These seeds are pleasant tasting and a good source of protein and amino acids. The powdered form is a convenient way to enjoy this herb in smoothies, yogurt and other foods.
Milk thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae (Ragweed) plant family.