Are Milk Thistle Leaves Edible?

They sure look yummy, and my pet rabbit loves them. But I never eat a wild vegetable before checking to be sure it isn't toxic.
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wrote:

My dogs can eat roadkill that is almost soup but that won't get me gnawing on the leg of the next dead roo I see.
D
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It is highly respected in Europe.
<http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Silybum%20marianum
Edible Uses                                           Edible Parts: Coffee;  Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  Oil;  Root;  Stem.
Root - raw or cooked[1, 2, 4, 52, 183]. A mild flavour and somewhat mucilaginous texture[K]. When boiled, the roots resemble salsify (Tragopogon hispanicus)[1, 4, 115]. Leaves - raw or cooked[1, 4, 5, 52, 89, 115]. The very sharp leaf-spines must be removed first[46, 183], which is quite a fiddly operation[K]. The leaves are quite thick and have a mild flavour when young, at this time they are quite an acceptable ingredient of mixed salads, though they can become bitter in hot dry weather[K]. When cooked they make an acceptable spinach substitute[238]. It is possible to have leaves available all year round from successional sowings[K]. Flower buds - cooked[1, 238]. A globe artichoke substitute[12, 183], they are used before the flowers open. The flavour is mild and acceptable, but the buds are quite small and even more fiddly to use than globe artichokes[K]. Stems - raw or cooked[4, 100]. They are best peeled and can be soaked to reduce the bitterness[5, 183]. Palatable and nutritious[4, 115], they can be used like asparagus or rhubarb[12] or added to salads. They are best used in spring when they are young[105]. A good quality oil is obtained from the seeds[4]. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[21, 46, 61, 183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent;  Bitter;  Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Emme nagogue;  Hepatic;  Homeopathy;  Stimulant;  Stomachic;   Tonic.
Blessed thistle has a long history of use in the West as a remedy for depression and liver problems[254]. Recent research has confirmed that it has a remarkable ability to protect the liver from damage resulting from alcoholic and other types of poisoning[254]. The whole plant is astringent, bitter, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, hepatic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[4, 21, 160, 165, 238]. It is used internally in the treatment of liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatitis and poisoning[238]. The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use[238]. Silymarin, an extract from the seed, acts on the membranes of the liver cells preventing the entry of virus toxins and other toxic compounds and thus preventing damage to the cells[244]. It also dramatically improves liver regeneration in hepatitis, cirrhosis, mushroom poisoning and other diseases of the liver[222, 238, 254]. German research suggests that silybin (a flavonoid component of the seed) is clinically useful in the treatment of severe poisoning by Amanita mushrooms[222]. Seed extracts are produced commercially in Europe[222]. Regeneration of the liver is particularly important in the treatment of cancer since this disease is always characterized by a severely compromised and often partially destroyed liver[K]. A homeopathic remedy is obtained from equal parts of the root and the seed with its hulls still attached[4]. It is used in the treatment of liver and abdominal disorders[9].
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- Billy

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