Although it may look like a common weed to the untrained eye, the milk thistle plant has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Studies have shown that this flowering plant can be used to promote healthy liver function, so many people have begun ingesting milk thistle in the form of herbal tea.
You can buy the seeds of the milk thistle in bulk or blended with other herbs in conventional tea bags. The Starwest Botanicals Organic Milk Thistle Seeds are the top pick because they’re certified kosher and organic by reputable third-party organizations.
The purported health benefits of milk thistle tea are thought to come from a chemical compound called silymarin. As with other herbal teas, steeping the plant material in hot water is a great way to receive the potential benefits of silymarin without ingesting the whole seeds.
Milk thistle tea is considered safe to consume, even on a regular basis, but there are a few side effects to think about before introducing it into your daily routine. A small percentage of people could experience an upset stomach or nausea, and those with a sensitivity to milk thistle or any other plants in the daisy family should avoid drinking the tea. Milk thistle could lower your blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should talk with their doctor before ingesting the plant. Lastly, there haven’t been very many human-based studies done on the plant, so people shouldn’t drink milk thistle tea as a replacement for any conventional medical treatments.
Most people buy milk thistle in the form of tea bags or seeds by weight, but you can find the plant in capsules or a concentrated liquid extract. Making tea from the seeds is perhaps the most natural way to consume the beverage, but the process typically requires crushing the plant material with a blender or mortar and pestle.
For a high-quality tea, look for milk thistle that has been certified organic by a third-party organization or the United States Department of Agriculture. You can also find products that are certified kosher, vegan and free of genetically modified organisms.
While exact costs can vary, if you’re buying milk thistle in bulk, expect to spend around $10-$20 per pound of seeds. A box of tea bags is usually cheaper at around $0.50 per bag.
A. Many people drink milk thistle tea every day, often before bed to receive the maximum liver benefits. Given the lack of human studies on the plant, however, it might be best to consume the tea in moderation.
A. Milk thistle tea has a very mild, slightly sweet flavor that goes well with honey, citrus flavors and even lavender.
What you need to know: These organic seeds can be crushed and prepared as a tea or added to smoothies and oatmeal.
What you’ll love: The milk thistle seeds are certified organic and kosher by multiple third-party organizations, and users love their potency and pure flavor. You can reseal the light-proof bag to maintain freshness.
What you should consider: You have to crush the seeds with a blender or food processor before you can brew them as a tea.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
What you need to know: These affordable milk thistle tea bags are easy to brew and certified organic by the USDA.
What you’ll love: The tea bags produce a mild, earthy-tasting tea. The bags are unbleached and the carton is constructed from 100 percent recycled materials. The company is part of a sustainability campaign that aims to plant 50 million trees.
What you should consider: Although the incident is rare compared to positive reviews, there have been a few reports of users receiving tea bags with mold on them.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This delicious milk thistle tea blend is packaged in unbleached paper and a metal tin.
What you’ll love: USDA-certified organic milk thistle seeds are paired with organic orange peel and a touch of grapefruit to create a bright, citrus-flavored tea with all the potential benefits of milk thistle. The tea is free of gluten, sugar and GMOs.
What you should consider: If you’re interested in the liver-protective benefits of milk thistle, you may want something more potent than this herbal tea blend.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.