Milk thistle is most commonly sought for its medicial properties of preventing and repairing liver damage. But most parts of the plants are also edible and tasty. Until recently, it was commonly cultivated in Eurpoean vegetable gardens. Leaves can be de-spined for use as salad greens or sautéed like collard greens; water-soaked stems prepared like asparugus; roots boiled or baked; flower pods used like artichoke heads.
How to Harvest Milk Thistle: Most people consider milk thistle a pesky weed because it can grow tall and thorny, making it hard to even get near. However, it is loaded with medicinal benefits. The U.S. Nat'l Cancer Institute reports that milk thistle contains the active ingredient silymarin. The silymarin from milk thistle is in the seeds, which are used to make extracts or tinctures for medicinal use.