HARVESTING MILK THISTLE

Pink Milk Thistle flowers dazzle the senses in wayside places and attracts bees and butterflies like a magnet.  A single seed pod contains nearly 200 seeds, and if left untended, it can become an invasive plant in farm pastures.  The seeds of this prickly plant are extremely beneficial for restoring an over burdened liver.  Every morning my daughter supplements her diet with Milk Thistle capsules for better skin and allergy defenses.  

Knowing first hand the healing benefits of Milk Thistle seeds, my daughter and I decided to try our hand at harvesting it this year.  The process can be labor intensive and at times overwhelming, but a direct harvest from the land is always superior to purchased herbs from a supplier.  Below is my method for making the harvesting process a little easier.


HARVESTING MILK THISTLE SEEDS


TOOLS:  Scissors ~ Gloves ~ Brown Bag ~ Clothes Pin ~ Bowl


GATHERING SEEDHEADS

Harvest seed heads when starting to plume but not fully mature.

Cut off seed heads then drop them into a brown paper bag.

When filled, fold the bag over and pin closed with a clothes pin or staple.

Place bag in a warm location to dry for several weeks.


GLEANING SEEDS FROM CHAFF

When ready to process, take the bag outdoors.

 Shake or press the bag to separate the seeds from plumes.

Place a large bowl under the bag to gather the seeds and slowly empty the bag.

The seeds will fall into the bowl and the chaff (plumes) will blow away.


STORING

Keep Milk Thistle seeds in a lidded jar with label.

Grind a teaspoon of seeds in a small coffee grinder when ready to use.


Similar to Flax, Chia, and Evening Prim Rose Seeds, you can utilize the healing benefits of Milk Thistle by slipping a tablespoon of seeds into smoothies, muffins, or puddings.  Sprinkle a few on your favorite morning cereal for a boost of vitamins.

Let the goodness of the earth bring healing to your bones,

Sally