In the past, I’ve mentioned the need to be persistent and consistent with certain foods and herbs in order for them to have an effect on the human body. Once accumulated these nutrients can have an anabolic reaction, leading to the growth of healthy tissues and positive changes in the body. Similarly, unhealthy foods and practices accumulated by the body can lead to negative changes.
As a student of herbal medicine, I remember taking a walk through the neighborhoods of Silver City, New Mexico with a teacher who was introducing us to different plants that were growing up through cracks in the pavement, randomly and wildly climbing fences, overtaking abandoned yards, and pretty much thriving in any place that humans allowed. These are referred to as weeds by most people these, however, my instructor made it clear that the plants he referred to should be revered as medicine.
Milk thistle is a perfect example of one person’s poison being another person’s medicine. It is considered a noxious weed because it can kill cattle if eaten in large amounts, however, when ingested by humans over long periods of time, it has been proven to protect the liver and is known to have positive effects on the heart, skin, and kidneys, as well as aiding digestion.
The key to milk thistle’s magic is a constituent known as silymarin. And like with every magic trick, the beauty (or in this case, the value) is not in what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. The most effective way to extract silymarin from milk thistle seed is with alcohol. My process is to collect organic milk thistle seed and extract its medicine using organic alcohol. Once this is done, I remove the alcohol and replace it with organic vegetable glycerin. My final product is an organic, glycerin-based milk thistle tincture.
When producing herbal medicine, I try to use organic or wild-crafted products whenever possible. I feel it is also important to eliminate the ingestion of alcohol by substituting it with glycerin when it “makes sense”, for instance with milk thistle and other formulas, like my Immuno Umph!, Relax and Recover, and Lion’s Mane.
In this day and age, we are conditioned to reach for immediate gratification. Vitality is not achieved in this way. It is a journey, and one that can start in your own kitchen. Ayurvedic philosophy is the oldest form of practiced medicine in the world, and many of its remedies can be found in the kitchen, or growing in your own backyard, between the cracks of the pavement, etc.
Please check out my interview with Harryet Candee in this edition of the Artful Mind.
Be well and heal thyself!
Ayurvedic Practitioner, Herbalist, Bodyworker