We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Carduus Marianus?

By Anna Harrison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Carduus marianus, also known as milk thistle or St. Mary’s thistle, is an annual or biennial herb recognized by its purple flowers and spiny leaves and stems. It is used in homeopathy to treat a variety of medical conditions. The hard-shelled fruit is the only part of the plant that is used for medicinal purposes.

While native to the Mediterranean region, carduus marianus has been naturalized throughout Europe and parts of North America, where it grows in fields and on roadsides. Its spreading habits mean it is often looked upon as an undesirable weed. It thrives in dry, sunny weather and is an extremely hardy plant.

This herb is particularly valuable in homeopathic medicine, in which it is used to improve liver function. The plant's fruit provides silymarin, a liver-regenerating bioflavonoid used in the homeopathic treatment of cirrhosis and hepatitis. It also supplies an antidote to the deadly death cap mushroom.

Silymarin works in the liver by stabilizing cell membranes and regenerating liver cells. It also has antioxidant properties and helps to protect liver cells from free radical damage. It also filters toxins from the blood and may help to keep blood sugar at a steady level. Silymarin also may assist in regulating fats and reducing intestinal inflammation.

Carduus marianus is used in herbal remedies for several other medical conditions that are not liver-related. The herb stimulates the gall bladder and bowels, and promotes urination, which helps to keep kidneys healthy. It also may help to soften kidney stones and gallstones. Psoriasis and other skin conditions also may be improved by using the plant in an herbal remedy.

A home herbal remedy can be made by making a tincture of one part whole, ripe carduus marianus seeds to two parts diluted alcohol. The seeds are steeped in the alcohol in an airtight bottle and left in a cool, dark place for at least eight days. It is then strained, filtered and placed in a clean bottle. About 10 drops in water is taken to promote a healthy liver. The plant extract also is sold commercially for those who do not wish to make their own tincture.

Carduus marianus was used for many years in Europe as a way to increase lactation in nursing women. The belief was that eating a special diet including the herb would greatly increase milk production. The belief had no scientific basis, but legend had it that the white veins on the mottled leaves of the plant represented drops of the Virgin Mary’s milk that fell while she was nursing baby Jesus.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.