Blessed Thistle (also known as Holy Thistle or St. Benedict’s Thistle) was given this name due to its reputation as a cure all. It’s Latin name, Cnicus Benedictus, was given because its ability to cure was considered a gift form God. It is perhaps most well known for its usage with female related problems, though it should not be used during pregnancy. It can be found and used in tinctures, capsules or teas.
Blessed Thistle is often used in teas for nursing mothers to help increase milk supply. It is known to increase circulation and treat hormone imbalance. It enhances memory by delivering oxygen to the brain and is supportive of the heart and lungs.
According to the book Nutritional Herbology:
“Herbalists use it as a female tonic to increase mother’s milk and treat painful menstruation.
Large doses produce an emetic and expectorant effect. Its bitter glycosides are said to stimulate appetite and act as a tonic to the digestive tract. Large doses are also said to produce a diaphoretic and general stimulant action.
In the last century, blessed thistle has received a reputation for its action on the internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. Homeopaths have touted it most highly in this regard and use a tincture to treat jaundice, hepatitis, and arthritis.
Early man believed that ingesting bitter herbs gave strength that could be used to combat illness. Physiologically, bitter herbs stimulate various organs of the body into a reflex action that triggers the glands into action, producing various effects. In blessed thistle, the organs affected are thought to be the liver and female reproductive organs.
Contains bitter compounds that decrease the thickness while increasing the production of mucosal fluids particularly in the digestive and respiratory systems. It also contains astringent compounds that are antiseptic, dilate peripheral blood vessels, and shrink inflamed tissue. Blessed thistle is an excellent herbal source of potassium and sodium. The herb has been used to treat dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, arthritis, dysura, jaundice, fevers and respiratory allergies.”
From Mountain Rose Herbs:
As a tea infusion, in capsules or as an extract, or externally as a poultice for boils and wounds.
Modern herbal applications of blessed thistle are based on a long history of use in Europe and in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Blessed Thistle is used to treat digestive ailments fundamentally caused by insufficient secretion of stomach acid. The herb’s bitter taste triggers a reflex reaction that releases gastric juices into the stomach, especially those needed to digest fats. For this reason, modern herbalists agree that the plant is helpful for loss of appetite, upset stomach, and gas, although it may be better to take the herb before these symptoms occur (such as before eating a fatty meal), rather than after. The herb is also antibacterial.
Generally not recommended during pregnancy. If you are allergic to artichokes, avoid this herb.”
Have you ever used Blessed Thistle? What did you use it for?