Milk thistle tea is made from the seeds of milk thistle plant, also called Silybum marianum. The herb, which is considered an invasive weed in some countries, has been used for centuries to treat various ailments.
Today, milk thistle extract made from multiple parts of the herb is widely available in the form of tablets, pills, and liquid supplements.
You can also get teabags of thistle tea containing ground or whole milk thistle seeds. So how to make milk thistle tea?
Benefits of Drinking Milk Thistle Tea
There isn’t much clinical evidence supporting the purported benefits of milk thistle.
The few studies available indicate that it may help increase breast milk production in nursing mothers. It also lowers blood sugar in diabetics.
The beneficial compounds in milk thistle (collectively called silymarin) may also help manage liver diseases by reducing liver damage and inflammation.
However, all these and other benefits have been studied using milk thistle extracts. These contain a higher concentration of silymarin than the seeds that are used to make tea.
Furthermore, silymarin is poorly absorbed in the stomach owing to its poor water solubility. So the little there is in milk thistle tea is further reduced.
Not to be a wet blanket, but current studies suggest that it is not the wonder drug that some people purport it to be. So keep your expectations low.
That said, drinking this tea may still give you some of the benefits of taking a concentrated milk thistle extract. This tea is also relaxing.
It has a mild dandelion-like taste, making it a great choice for those who don’t like pungent teas, as well as anyone looking for a caffeine-free tea.
Will It Reverse Liver Damage?
No, it wont.
While there is some evidence that milk thistle can prevent further liver damage from conditions like cirrhosis and fatty liver, it has not been shown to reverse any damage that’s already happened.
Furthermore, any benefits to the liver are likely to come from taking milk thistle extract, not milk thistle tea.
As we’ve mentioned, it is low in beneficial compounds.
How To Make It At Home
You’ll need milk thistle seeds, ground or whole, to make it. You can get tea bags of milk thistle seeds online, at a local grocery store, or in a health store.
To make the tea, follow these steps.
- Boil water in a kettle until it has just started boiling.
- Pour a bit of the hot water into a cup. Swirl it around then pour it out. This pre-warms the cup, ensuring the water remains sufficiently hot while you steep the milk thistle tea.
- Place a tea bag in the cup then pour hot water over it.
- Let the tea infuse for 10 to 20 minutes depending on how strong you want it to be.
- Add a sweetener like honey or sugar, if you want.
If you are using loose tea, add a teaspoon of it for every cup of tea. Let it steep in a kettle then strain the tea into a cup.
Typically, this tea is drunk on its own. But you can experiment with additional recipes such as milk thistle and ginger tea, milk thistle and green tea, and so on.
Adding other ingredients to milk thistle tea not only improves taste, but also nutritional value.
How Often Can I Drink It?
It is generally considered safe, so you can drink a lot of it without any side effects. But because there are no studies on the safe dosage of milk thistle, we recommend drinking no more than 6 cups a day.
You can also take it at any time of the day, including at night, since it doesn’t contain any caffeine and won’t keep you up.
If you are pregnant, you should probably not drink it or take milk thistle extracts. That’s because there are no studies on its safety during pregnancy.
If you have a health condition or are taking medication, consult your doctor before drinking it.
What Is The Best Way To Take Milk Thistle?
The best way to take milk thistle is as an extract. Most supplements sold online and in health stores are concentrated extracts.
They contain a high level of silymarin, thus have more health benefits.
The tea is made just from seeds and contains a low level of silymarin. You won’t enjoy as many health benefits from drinking it as you would taking the extract.