Blessed Thistle – Interesting Facts and Medicinal Uses
Do you know what a blessed thistle is?
Basically, it is a flowering plant. In botany, the blessed thistle is called “Cnicus Benedictus”. It belongs to order Asterales, family Asteraceae, and tribe Cynareae. People from all around the world use different terms for it. It is also commonly known as:
- Carbenia Benedicta
- Cardo Bendito
- Cardo Santo
- Carduus Benedictus
- Chardon Beni
- Chardon Benit
- Cnici Benedicti Herba
- Holy Thistle
- Spotted Thistle
- St. Benedict’s thistle
The blessed thistle is a type of plant that develops and flowers every year. In other words, it is one of the annual plants. It can be easily found in the Mediterranean region. It is native the following countries: Portugal, France, and Iran. However, it can also be found in other parts of the world, especially in Asia, Europe, and North America. There are 14 identified species of blessed thistle just in the United Kingdom.
What does the blessed thistle look like? It usually grows up to 60 centimeters tall. It has hairy and fibrous leaves that are around 8 centimeters wide and 30 centimeters long. Its flowers are usually yellow in color and most of them have the diameter of 3 to 4 centimeters. The leaves and flowers of the blessed thistle plant have spiky edges.
The history of blessed thistle started during the Greek and Roman times. If you think that it is just a simple flowering plant that can be used to beautify your garden, then you are wrong. Even if it looks small, its background is really interesting. The blessed thistle has a magnificent history in the herbal medicine.
During the Middle Ages, people believed that the blessed thistle plant is a protection to irritations, anxiety, witches, and evil spirits. Greeks and Romans used thistles against curses. Ancient people also identified the blessed thistle as the seed of evil that grows near the graves. They also used it to treat the bubonic plague. Ancient monks used it as a tonic.
Blessed thistle contains tannins, which can cure different kinds of illnesses and medical conditions. It can be used as a treatment for patients who are suffering from the following conditions:
- Excess mucus
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Insufficient lactation for breastfeeding mothers
- Intermittent fever
- Internal cancers
- Liver and gall bladder ailments
- Nervous prostrations
- Poor appetite
Composition, Dosage, and Other Properties
Blessed thistle is composed of the following: cnicin (which is a bitter crystalline neutral body), essential, volatile oil, flavonoids, and mucilage. It is a bitter herb that has antiseptic and antibiotic properties. It mainly acts as a digestive tonic in herbal medications. It does not only have medicinal uses. It can also be used in the field of culinary arts. Its young leaves are usually eaten raw. Its flowers are sometimes used as a substitute or alternative for artichokes. It is also used as a flavoring agent. Its roots are usually boiled and used as a seasoning.
Blessed thistle is commonly used in tincture or solution form. The usual dosage of blessed thistle tincture is 2 milliliters and it should be taken 3 times a day.
Some people make an herbal tea out of the blessed thistle. If you want to make a blessed thistle tea, you just need to boil 2 grams of dried blessed thistle herb in 250 milliliters of water for 15 minutes. It’s that easy! If you want to take full advantage of its benefits, drink three cups of blessed thistle tea every single day.
Cautions and Side Effects
Before deciding to use blessed thistle in curing different medical conditions, you should first be aware of the things that might happen when you do so. Blessed thistle has opposite powers with antacids. It increases stomach acid, while antacids decreases stomach acid. If you use them both, you should be aware that blessed thistle might reduce the effectiveness of the antacid.
You should also be aware that excessive consumption of this herb might cause the patient to vomit. It can also cause skin allergies if not handled carefully. Also, make sure that usage of the blessed thistle is allowed in your country, because there are some countries that have legal restrictions for it.