Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
Parts used and where grown: Although native to Europe and Asia, blessed thistle is now cultivated in many areas of the world, including the United States. The leaves, stems, and flowers are all used in herbal preparations.
In what conditions might blessed thistle be supportive?
Â¥ indigestion and heartburn
Â¥ poor appetite
Historical or traditional use: Folk medicine utilized blessed thistle tea for digestive problems, including gas, constipation, and stomach upset. This herb was also used for liver and gallbladder diseases, in a similar way as its well-known relative, milk thistle.1
Active constituents: The sesquiterpene lactones, such as cnicin, provide the main beneficial effects of blessed thistle. The bitterness of these compounds stimulates digestive activity, including the flow of saliva and secretion of gastric juice, which leads to improved appetite and digestion.2 There is some evidence that blessed thistle also has anti-inflammatory properties.
How much should I take? Many people take 2 ml three times per day of blessed thistle tincture. Approximately 2 grams of the dried herb can also be added to 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water and steeped ten to fifteen minutes to make a tea. Three cups can be drunk each day.
Are there any side effects or interactions? Blessed thistle is relatively safe and free from side effects. Anyone with allergies to plants in the daisy family should use blessed thistle cautiously.
1. Lust JB. The Herb Book. New York: Bantam Books, 1974, 343. 2. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 126-7.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.