Milk Thistle

Also known as Mary Thistle, Milk Thistle is native to the Mediterranean. It is mostly known for its liver-protecting qualities. It can be eaten as a vegetable for weight loss due to its high fiber content. Although safe for humans to eat, it is toxic to livestock, and might affect small pets.

As a garden plant, it can be aggressively invasive (as most medicinal plats are). Plant in pots and keep on concrete to avoid a Milk Thistle garden takeover! Check with your state laws to see if Milk Thistle is safe and legal to grow in your area.

Milk thistle contains Silymarin, a chemical known to improve liver health, crowning this plant with the ‘Liver Tonic’ title.

Parts Used: Seeds, Laves, Flower Heads

Main Constituents: Flavolignans, Silymarin, Bitters, Polyacetylenes

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Bitter tonic, cholagogue, antiviral, choleretic, antidepressant, antioxidant, galactagogue, liver protector

Dosage: For tinctures, take full dropper 3 times daily for liver and gall bladder problems or to stimulate digestion; For Infusions/teas, Drink 1-2 Cups Daily to stimulate milk production while breastfeeding (unless your doctor advises against it), or to help stimulate sluggish digestion.

Magickal Properties: Meditation, Healing, Purification, Cleansing, Happiness, Protection, Vitality, Used to Fight Negative Energies, Blessings, Calling Spirits, Dispel Evil Influences.

Planet: Mars

Element: Fire

6 Thistle Images - Rustic Flowers! - The Graphics Fairy

Folk Tales & Mythology

Milk Thistle, also known as Saint Mary’s Thistle or Our Lady’s thistle.  This herb is a plant of legend. Stories from long ago suggest that the leaves of the milk thistle plant came to have white veins running through them when the milk from the breast of Mary, The Virgin Mother splashed onto the plant. To some, these white veins symbolize breast milk, and it’s believed that when a breastfeeding mother uses this herb, it will lead to an increase in her breast milk supply.

Rituals

Milk Thistle can be burned with sage for purification and cleansing your home, yourself, and any items.

Burning milk thistle also helps improve concentration while meditation.

Rid yourself of bad thoughts with Milk Thistle: Write down all the words you can think of that trigger you negatively on a piece of paper. Take and place a small pinch of milk thistle seeds on the paper. Fold the paper in half and write: I no longer attract these hurtful feelings into my life. Fold the paper in half one last time and write: I see only love, I attract only love, I am only love.

Whenever the bad or negative thought arise again, look at the messages you wrote to yourself and meditate on it. This is a form of visual manifestation to help you bring about positive thoughts in a time of self hate or low self esteem.

Valerian

Valerian plant is known to help those who take it …relax, take a nap, and let loose. This plant focuses on the nervous system and can be used as a mild sedative. Be aware that most people do not like the smell of this flower; some claim it smells like sweaty socks!

Scientific name: Valeriana officinalis: The name is from Latin ‘valere which means to be strong or healthy.

Parts Used: Root, Rhizome, herb

Planet: Mercury

Element: Water

Main Constituents: Volatile oils, valepotriates, akaloids

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Sedative, hypnotic, nervine, antispasmodic, expectorant, diuretic, hypotensive, carminative, milldly analgesic.

Dosage: 

  • Soaked in cold water for up to 10 hours: drink 1 cup strained water/tea up to 3 times daily for anxiety, nervous tension or blood pressure related stress. Take 1 cup before bed for insomnia.
  • Tincture: take 1tsp (1-5ml) up to 3 times daily for nervous problems. Doses can vary between individuals. Sometimes high doses can cause headaches for some; so it’s best to start with small doses. If taking other forms of medication, check with your doctor prior to consuming this tincture. Will not usually cause drowsiness/grogginess unless you are also taking other medications.
  • Compress: soak a pad in a cup with maceration or tincture and apply to muscle cramps or abdomen during period pains and colic.

Magical Properties: Protection; purification; restfulness; calmness; grounding; love and harmony.

Valerian is a well-known relaxant and is useful when muscle tension combines with anxiety or sleep problems. It relaxes smooth muscle spasms and cramping.

Most of the benefits are stored within Valerian’s volatile oils. Many find the tea tastes disgusting and the smell is disgusting (…think gym socks, yuck!) but many will struggle through that smell and taste for it’s amazing benefits!

As Nature it ordain’d its own like hurt to cure,And sportive did herself to niceties inure.Valerian then he crops, and purposely doth stampTo apply unto the place that’s haled with the cramp

Poet Michael Dayton

Although it is a fairly safe species its use is not recommended for extended periods of time and it should be used with caution for those suffering from liver failure. Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, or children under the age of 12.

Valerian Through History

During medieval times in Sweden, many grooms wore Valerian to ward off the envy of elves on their wedding day, or leading up to their wedding days.

Most of us have heard the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Germany who played his flute and led the rats out of town forever. Many feel the Pied Piper must have been familiar with valerian and put it in his pockets or rubbed himself with it. Rats love the smell, and it may have been the valerian, not the music, that enticed the rats to follow him!

The Nordic goddess Hertha is said to have used valerian as a whip to encourage the stag she rode to greater speeds.

In magic, it was used in love potions, and in Sleep Pillows.

Some people claimed that if valerian was thrown where people were fighting, they would cease immediately and that it could be used to tame the wildest of beasts.

The ancients Greeks would hang bundles of valerian in their homes, especially in their windows, to keep evil entities from entering. The Celts believed hanging it their homes would keep lightening from striking.

In the wizard world of Harry Potter, valerian was believed to have soporific qualities and was given in teas to encourage sleep.

It was generally regarded as a feminine element. Its powers were believed to be love, sleep, purification, and protection.

In addition to a sleep aid, valerian has been used for anxiety, stress, to treat addictions, convulsions, gas, pain, hyperactivity, intestinal cramping, migraines, aggression, nervous exhaustion, coughs, epilepsy,  and the flu. And the list goes on and on…