As you pour the seeds into the bucket, the unwanted chaff will blow away. The silymarin from milk thistle is in the seeds, which are used to make extracts or tinctures for medicinal use. If you roast the seeds, they can be used as a coffee substitute – at least to replicate the flavor of the morning drink if not the caffeine intake. It typically grows up to at least 3 feet tall. Some supplement bottles containing milk thistle in capsule or pill format suggest that use of this wild edible may be safe at a level of 420 mg daily for up to 41 months. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. Put the flower heads into a paper bag, then place the the bag in a warm location. How to Harvest Milk Thistle Seeds and Cutting Back Garden Plants If you are growing milk thistle to add color to the garden, prune the top stems off of the plants as soon as the flowers start to deteriorate. Not a lot to show for this much peril. Milk thistle is considered a medicinal plant; milk thistle seeds have been used to treat extreme cases of hepatitis and liver degeneration with remarkable effects. To prevent re-seeding, it is recommended to mulch around the plant. The plant is used in natural medicinal remedies, to brew as a tea, and as a recipe ingredient. This information is for research and entertainment purposes only. Store it in a cool, dry spot for 48 hours. The white fluff are the seeds. Melissa King began writing in 2001. Even a slight wind is all it takes to broadcast the white flowery seeds. Store the tincture for several years in a dark container with a dropper. Milk thistle is a heady, spiny plant with white-veined leaves and purple flowers. Have any of you used milk thistle for bittering? Most people consider milk thistle a pesky weed because it can grow tall and thorny, making it hard to even get near. While it isn’t quite that dire, it is almost that dire. If you have milk thistle growing near you, you can harvest your own seeds. Learning how to identify milk thistle or how to grow it in your prepper apothecary, could help increase your chances of survival during a long-term disaster. For example, put the bag of milk thistle heads in your garage or a room in your house that gets lots of sunshine and warmth. You can get rid of the remaining fluff by tossing it in a bowl in front a fan, or wait for a windy day. If you simply want to harvest the milk thistle seeds, go on to Step 4. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), also called lady's thistle, produces bright pink blossoms that attract butterflies and other wildlife. The seed of the milk thistle plant is commonly used to treat chronic inflammatory liver disorders and it is among the top-selling medicinal herbs. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The following growing guidelines offer valuable advise about how to cultivate and take care of milk thistle at home. Every day at wikiHow, we work hard to give you access to instructions and information that will help you live a better life, whether it's keeping you safer, healthier, or improving your well-being. If you simply want to harvest the milk thistle seeds, go on to Step 4. Cooked flower buds have a slightly sweet taste, and are delicious when brewed into a tea. You'll see the chaff blow away from the seeds as you pour them into the bucket or storage container. The seeds are the main part of the milk thistle plant that are harvested for use. Milk thistle has a mild flavor that turns bitter as the plant matures. If you plan to collect the seeds, do so before the plants fully mature. Your email address will not be published. Cut the seed heads off the milk thistle plant and place them in a paper bag. I am chuckling. Milk thistle (silymarin) is used to help people with liver problems, aid in the treatment of diabetes, and lower LDL cholesterol. How to Collect Seeds From a Lotus Berthelotii. The more dry the seed heads are, the more readily the seeds will fall off. Once the purple heads have begun to turn white and fluffy, cut them from the stalk. Pour the milk thistle seeds from the sack into the bucket. As we all know, grocery store shelves will be emptied in mere hours – and pharmacies will be looted – so learn as much as you can right now about how to identify and use milk thistle and other valuable plants growing in your region. Cut the young leaves from the stalk and steam them as you would spinach. Place a bucket on the ground outdoors or hold it with one arm. Harvest as many milk thistle heads as you like. Grind up milk thistle seeds and use them to make a hot tea. Always bring the milk thistle plant pieces being dehydrated by the sun inside at night to prevent dampness from infusing into them, and cause drying delays. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. It has not been evaluated by the FDA. Milk thistle has been considered nothing more than an annoying weed by farmers, and is often brush hogged down during routine field maintenance. Cut the young leaves from the stalk and steam them as you would spinach. This particular form is found on the seeds of plants in the Asteraceae family, such as dandelion and thistle. Dehydrating the harvested roots from the plant may take up to 12 hours in a standard home dehydrator. The fruit portion of milk thistle is found in the pappus that falls away when the plant dries, and is not used to make an extract. It also contains the super-antioxidant glutathione. Again, do not attempt to harvest milk thistle without wearing durable work gloves. I'm asking this for bird consumption, not human. (have a picture?) 4 Put the flower heads into a paper bag, then place the the bag in a warm location. Milk thistle seeds can be easily ground and incorporated into baked dishes like bread. Cut the seed heads off the milk thistle plant and place them in a paper bag. What's the best way to extract the seeds from the plant once dry? If left unattended, milk thistle can take over a field thanks to the easy and rapid dispersal of its seeds by even a slight wind. If you’re tired of all the chemical-laden skin creams that overpromise and underdeliver, you’re going to love this little plant. Cut dried milk thistle blossoms off the plant from the base of the flower head. Milk thistle plants tend to mature at different times, but seed production generally begins in the fall. I have quite a bit of milk thistle in my yard and was considering using it in one of my next brews. Milk thistle plants typically yield up to 190 seeds per flower - that’s roughly 6350 seeds per plant! To take the tincture by mouth, squeeze 1 to 2 drops onto your tongue 2 to 4 times a day. Store dehydrated portions of the milk thistle plant in an airtight container like a Mason jar, or seal them with a vacuum sealer machine. It requires very little care and a controlled environment to prevent invasive growth. Side effects that may indicate an allergic reaction to milk thistle include: Avoid using milk thistle if taking metronidazole, Simeprevir, and drugs to treat hepatitis C. Typically, milk thistle dosing guidelines are recommended to be no more than 140 mg consumed orally three times per day for adults. Stems from this fall foraging survival plant taste best when peeled and soaked in cold water to reduce their bitter taste, before being eaten either raw or cooked. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. This attractive yet prickly fall foraging wild edible belongs to the same plant family as artichokes and daisies. After the cone heads have dried, remove them from the sack, and separate out the seeds after giving it several solid shakes and pressing down on the flower cones to separate them thoroughly. If you're allergic to ragweed, you may also be allergic to milk thistle. Milk thistle is one of the bittering ingredients I've seen listed as an alternative to hops. Since it grows in clumps, it is recommendable to space the plant 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) apart. Milkweed is a bright plant that produces large and colorful flowers that attract butterflies in great abundance. Let the heads dry completely in a paper bag and loosen the seeds. Storing the dried milk thistle plant in a cool and dry place is highly recommended. The entire plant is edible, when properly prepared and harvested, and can be used in a wide variety of recipes to bolster their nutritional content and flavor. Stems should also be dehydrated on the same setting, and will likely take up to at least 8 hours to dry, depending upon their girth. A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Broken stems and leaves will expose a milky sap from which many folks believe the plant got its name. The plant’s extract might cause estrogenic effects. Milk thistle or silybum marianum, is a fall foraging plant with many nicknames. However, milk thistle competes well with other plants, so a bit of light cultivation, especially when the plant is young, should suffice to control overgrowth. Although milk thistle is a drought resistant plant, in extremely dry conditions plants should be watered until established.