I love sweater weather and warming up with my two dogs, Charlie and Nella, during these winter months. When the weather turns frigid, I turn to a large mug of this warming milk thistle ginger tea for comfort. It fights the cold and builds up my liver health and immune system at the same time.
How Milk Thistle and Ginger Benefit Your Liver
The liver is our largest internal organ, responsible for performing detoxification, immune, and metabolic responses. It’s vital that we keep our liver in good health.
The main ingredients of this recipe are milk thistle seeds and fresh ginger. Anti-inflammatory ginger is a common ingredient, but if you’ve never heard of milk thistle before, it’s time for you to give it a try.
The active components in milk thistle are a group of compounds called silymarin, which are commonly used to treat liver diseases. Both milk thistle and ginger are anti-inflammatory and also rich in antioxidants that help to support a healthy immune system, combat free radicals and slow down aging. This is not just in the liver, but in the body in general.
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Tips on Making Healthy Tea
I find that the best way to make tea is to use a teapot and a strainer and use dried herbs or fresh if possible. I prefer not to use pre-packaged tea bags if I can help it, as you never know what composition of herbs are used.
In this recipe, I use dried milk thistle seeds and fresh ginger root for stronger ginger taste. To get the best out of the milk thistle seeds, I crush them by hand with a mortar and pestle to release their oils and make it easier for the tea to brew.
If you don’t have milk thistle seeds you can use dried milk thistle leaves instead. Simply substitute the seeds with 1 ½ tablespoons of milk thistle leaves and let the tea brew for the same amount of time.
If fresh ginger is not available, substitute it for 1 teaspoon of ground ginger powder. In this case, it is not necessary to boil the water and ginger together. Simply place the milk thistle seeds or leaves with the ground ginger in the strainer of a teapot and pour hot water over it. Let it brew for the same amount of time.
- 2 tablespoons milk thistle seeds
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon freshly sliced ginger
- Crush the milk thistle seeds with a mortar and pestle.
- Place the fresh sliced ginger and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow the water to simmer for the next 10 minutes.
- Once done simmering (the water will turn a pale yellow color), place the milk thistle seeds and cooked fresh ginger in the strainer of a teapot, and pour the hot water over.
- Allow tea to brew for the next 5 minutes and then divide between mugs.
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PS: If you don’t have a teapot or are looking to get a new one, I recommend the “Short Stack Tea Pot” by The Tea Spot. It has a nice, modern design but more importantly, has an extra-fine infuser made out of durable stainless steel, and the lid locks in place for easy-peasy pouring. Get it here.
Losser, M R, and D Payen. “Mechanisms of Liver Damage.” Seminars in Liver Disease, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 1996.
Abenavoli, Ludovico, et al. “Milk Thistle in Liver Diseases: Past, Present, Future.” Phytotherapy Research : PTR, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2010.
Federico, Alessandro, et al. “Silymarin/Silybin and Chronic Liver Disease: A Marriage of Many Years.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 24 Jan. 2017.
Rahimlou, Mehran, et al. “Ginger Supplementation in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study.” Hepatitis Monthly, Kowsar, 23 Jan. 2016.