The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Blessed Thistle

Scientific Names

Blessed Thistle

  • Cnicus benedictus L.
  • Composite family

Common Names

  • Bitter thistle
  • Blessed cardus
  • Holy thistle
  • Saint Benedict thistle
  • Spotted thistle

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Parts Usually Used

The plant
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Blessed thistle is a hairy annual herb; 10-30 inches tall.  Both leaves and stems are hairy.  The stems are 5-sided.  The leaves broadest at the base; lacerated, spiny-toothed.  The flowers are yellow, with a large leafy bract beneath; April to September.  Reddish, spinelike projections surround yellow tufts of flowers.
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Where Found

Roadsides, waste places.  United States; common in California.
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Medicinal Properties

Diaphoretic, emetic, tonic, stimulant, fegrifuge
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Biochemical Information

Cincin and volatile oils
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Blessed thistle has been used medicinally for centuries.

Once considered a rank weed and an obscure food plant (young leaves with spines removed are edible), in recent years this thistle has gained prominence as a medicinal plant, especially in Europe.  Clinical trials have found it useful in the treatment of Amanita mushroom poisoning; it is credited with saving a number of lives in Europe.

For menstrual problems, it is taken in combination with other herbs such as ginger, cramp bark, and blue cohosh root.  This herb is often included in commercial herbal preparations designed specifically for women.

Blessed thistle is sometimes cultivated, but mostly it has escaped from garden areas.
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Uses

One of the oldest folk remedies for the treatment of amenorrhea (absence of the menstrual cycle after the onset of menstruation).

Increases appetite, and stomach secretions.  Heals the liver.  Improves poor circulation, purifies the blood, increases bile production, helps sluggish appetite, stimulates memory, resolves blood clots, strengthens the heart, and alleviates pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung tissue).  Aids milk flow in the nursing mother.  Use for colds, fever, headaches, the tea helps digestive problems, as well as gas in the intestines, constipation, and liver troubles, dropsy.  Care should be taken not to make the tea too strong as it may cause vomiting.  Tea also used for boils, chilblains, deafness, gout, migraines, suppressed menses, jaundice, and ringworm.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: 1 oz. dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water.
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How Sold

Capsules: take 1 capsule up to 3 times daily

Extract:  mix 10-20 drops in liquid daily.
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Warning

Handle carefully to avoid toxic skin effects.

Large doses may cause irritation, vomiting.

Should not be taken during pregnancy; it stimulates onset of menses.
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Bibliography

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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