Senda Verde Permaculture Eco Center

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Milk Thistle guild

Milk Thistle... a candidate for "food from the gods" going to try and make friends

With a date fixed for the arrival of Liliput, the first Cabrita at Senda Verde I have been reading a couple of books on goat keeping and mentally sizing up the job of repairing her sleeping and living quarters and securing an area on the main terrace where she can graze freely but not get at the veggies.

I intend to get into the habbit of a morning walk with Lilliput, the goat, Joe and Carmela the two dogs, Itsy the kitten but its wishful thinking that she will ever make the break from the mezzanine floor of the barn.
Perhaps, rod over shoulder and a can of worms from the worm farm I can make the most of early morning fishing opportunities whilst Liliput grazes on river bank lushness.

I met my friend Maggie last weekend at the monthly farmers market in Baril de Alva. Maggie is a veteran small holder of five years, self sufficient, off grid and an expert on goats. Maggie kept a small herd and made cash from the sale of goats cheese and various other homesteading craft spin offs, from carpets to purses. In the permaculture tradition Maggie expertly manages an input, her goats, and maximises their uses right through her sustainable system, from manure for the permaculture garden, to milk, cheese, skins and meat, Maggie also tells me they make great companions.

Animals are an integral part of self sufficiency and are essential to a sustainable permaculture design. After three months on the land I realise Im still making big decisions way to quickly but the luxury of waiting is not mine at present. Phase two of the project, Animals, is being forced by the impending over production from phase one, the raised bed veggie gardens. The plan is working even if it feels a little racy at present. You can imagine it was with great pleasure that I set up my stall next to Maggie and we got down to some serious goat talk.

Liliput is due mid July but Maggie advised that I start collecting Cardamon thistle or Milk thistle, as the crushed seed heads are used to turn the curds and whey, a natural process rather than using rennet. Im currently on the solar dryer project at the moment so was hunting the finca for wild fennel to dry with one eye out for milk thisle and I think I discovered some.

I also discovered a mountain of very interesting information on the health benifits of milk thisle,

Milk thistle seed extract protects the liver from a variety of common toxins, including alcohol, pesticides, heavy metal poisoning, pollution, and medications of all kinds. It has been used for more than two thousand years for medicinal purposes, and its use as a detoxifying agent and treatment for liver disease is well validated by research.

In the permaculture tradition im going to collect seeds and grow this as a cash crop. I can sell the plants, prepare a tincture and use it as a natural rennet replacment for making goat cheese. Maggie told me she got a premium for her cheese that was prepared using crushed milk thistle pods. An excelent guild, milk thistle, goat cheese and a tincture of silymarin, all from a wild growing plant.

Ive also been looking for something to detoxify heavy metals, recent water analysis research on the effects that chemtrails have on the water table show high, off the scale concentrations of barium and aluminium, both heavy metals.

Here is a good article on the many health benifits of the Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle: Benefits and Side Effects

A short, wide, prickly plant known as milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is the source of a popular herbal remedy that is widely used to detoxify the body and to treat liver disease. Milk thistle seed extract has been shown to have antioxidant properties that help the liver function and stay healthy.

As the name suggests, this herbal remedy is derived from the seeds of the milk thistle plant. Many people take milk thistle seed extract as protection from environmental toxins, such as second hand smoke. People with liver disease, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice and inflamed liver, use the herb to protect and regenerate that vital organ.

Milk thistle seed extract contains active compound known as flavonolignans, which can protect the cells of the liver from toxins as well as encourage cleansing and detoxification. When damage has already been done to liver cells, milk thistle can stimulate protein synthesis, thereby helping the liver to repair injury and generate new cells.

Milk thistle seed extract protects the liver from a variety of common toxins, including alcohol, pesticides, heavy metal poisoning, pollution, and medications of all kinds. It has been used for more than two thousand years for medicinal purposes, and its use as a detoxifying agent and treatment for liver disease is well validated by research.

Milk thistle seed extract is an excellent tonic for anyone under stress. It is also useful for people who use alcohol, recreational drugs, performance drugs such as anabolic steroids, as well as prescription medications. In addition, anyone living in a heavily polluted environment can benefit from supplements of milk thistle seed extract. The herb has a gentle detoxifying effect, and its ability to increase bile secretion and flow in the intestines makes it effective as a mild laxative. Milk thistle seed extract can regulate bowel function as well, making it useful for people who alternate between diarrhea and constipation.
Special hybrid seeds are usually used to prepare herbal supplements of milk thistle seed extract. Supplements should be standardized to contain 70-80% of a class of flavonolignans known as silymarin. Silymarin is a powerful antioxidant that is ten times as potent as vitamin E. Three compounds in the silymarin class, silybinin, silydianin and silychristin are the specific substances that produce therapeutic effects in preparations of milk thistle seed extract.

The active ingredients can be extracted with alcohol to produce a tincture, or pills can be prepared using the seeds. Milk thistle teas made from bulk seed are also available, but very little of the active ingredient is present in steeped teas. The recommended daily dosage of milk thistle seed extract is 140 to 420 mg in tablet form. This should be divided into two or three smaller doses. Tinctures of milk thistle seed extract should be mixed with water or juice according to instructions on the package. Tinctures can also be taken directly under the tongue.

Few side effects have been reported from the use of milk thistle seed extract, though the tablets sometimes cause stomach irritation. A mild laxative effect has been reported as well, but this is often a desired effect of treatment with milk thistle seed extract. The herb is considered safe for, and has long been used by, pregnant women, though it may still be advisable for them to consult a physician before using it. There are no known drug interactions with milk thistle seed extract.

Thanks to andwelove for the Milk Thisle health info

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