Though it grows as a weed throughout California, milk thistle is a highly valued plant for healing. As part of the same family as sunflowers and daisies, there are records of the medicinal use of milk thistle that go back to 40 A.D. Used for thousands of years to promote the health of the liver, kidney and gall bladder, milk thistle is a powerful herb with plenty of studied health benefits. The flavonoid silymarin is responsible for most of these effects, and milk thistle is thought to be a natural liver protector, antioxidant, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory remedy. For this reason, milk thistle can be used to detoxify the body, especially the liver after drinking. Because milk thistle is full of vitamin E and C, it can fight free radical damage and prevent toxins from overwhelming your body.