Milk thistle is an annual plant of the Asteraceae family. Its natural habitat is the fertile soil of the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, North America, South America and Australia. In Poland it is grown for the pharmaceutical industry and as an ornamental plant. Herbal raw material is milk thistle fruit, harvested during ripening of plants. It contains active compounds such as flavonaluminates (silymarin, silybin) essential oils, flavonoids, bitterness and biogenic amines. The extract of milk thistle fruit supports proper bile production and helps protect liver cells.
H. Strzelecka, J. Kowalski, Encyklopedia zielarstwa i ziołolecznictwa, s. 399-400
E. Lamer-Zarawska i wsp., Fitoterapia i leki roślinne, s. 349-350