Blessed Thistle

Herbal Spotlight

Yarrow Achillea millifolium

Blessed Thistle

Blessed Thistle
Botanical Name – Cnicus benedictus       Family – Asteraceae
Common Names – Holy Thistle, Blessed Thistle, St Benedict Thistle, Carduus Benedictus
Description – Native to Southern Europe, Blessed Thistle is a large annual that has been cultivated in herb gardens for centuries for its medicinal use.  Characteristic of many thistles, it grows about 2 feet tall, has hairy stems and spiny edged leaves.  Even its bright yellow flowers are spiny.   Blessed Thistle can be distinguished by its many, long, reddish, hairy stems and dull green clasping leaves that can grow up to 12 inches long and 3 inches wide.  The flowers are bright yellow surrounded by spiny bracts.  The whole plant is covered in a thin down.
Part used – The leaves and flowering tops are harvested just as the plant begins to flower, usually in July.
Primary Constituents – Tannin, volatile oil, mucilage, sesquiterpernoid lactone, polyacetylene and cnicin, a bitter principle.
Medicinal Properties – Tonic, stimulant, emmenagogue, galactagogue, bitter, antiseptic, alterative, astringent, emetic
Preparation –Tincture, decoction, infusion, poultice
Medicinal use – Blessed Thistle was considered a heal-all in medieval Europe where it was used as a tonic and as the primary treatment for the bubonic plague.  Today it’s used to improve digestion, treat liver and stomach problems, increase milk supply for nursing mothers, help alleviate symptoms of PMS, and to treat and prevent infection and inflammation.
Blessed thistle’s cooling, bitter energy works primarily through the stomach and the liver by stimulating the body’s secretion of bile and other gastric acids.  This makes it useful treating liver congestion, stomach upset, dyspepsia, fevers, jaundice and hepatitis.  Larger amounts of the infusion is a reliable emetic producing vomiting without muss, fuss or inconvenience.  A Smaller dose will stimulate the appetites and digestive juices.
Blessed thistle a dependable galactagogue, taken to help increase the production of breast milk and is often used along with other herbs like Fennel seeds and Stinging Nettle or Alfalfa leaves.
It is often used as a treatment for PMS symptoms including heartache, melancholy, headache, cramping and pain.  Many of the old herbalists report Blessed Thistles effectiveness for treating or preventing headaches and problems of the brain, especially when the headache or migraine is linked to the menstrual cycle or undigested toxins.
Externally Blessed thistle is used as a skin wash and poultice to slow bleeding, reduce inflammation, prevent infection, cool and heal the skin.  Use it to treat and heal wounds, sores, ulcers and boils.
Preparation Methods & Dosage – The weak cold infusion made by steeping a teaspoon of herb in cold water for a few hours is used to treat conditions of a weak stomach and to stimulate appetite and digestion.  A warm infusion is used to treat fevers and infection.  ½ to 1 teaspoon of the tincture is used to increase circulation, treat headaches, and PMS.
Interactions and Counter-indications – Blessed Thistle is an emmenogoge, encouraging menses and should not be taken when pregnant.
Blessed Thistle is counter indicated for inflammatory intestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease.
References
Mrs. M Grieve.  A Modern Herbal Volume 11, New York, Dover Publications Inc, 1971
Micheal Tierra, The Way of Herbs, NY, NY, Pocket Books, 1980
John Lust, The Herb Book, NY, NY, Benedict Lust Publications, 1974

Fun Recipes

Savory Zucchini Bake

Filling
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 cups grated Zucchini
1 medium onion diced
1 clove garlic chopped
1 cup feta cheese (or cheese of your choice)
1/4 cup olives
1/2 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
1 fresh tomato thinly sliced

Cornbread Crust
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oil/butter
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
milk

Make the crust first.  Mix the cornmeal, flour,and baking power.  Cut in the butter or oil with a fork or pastry knife until well mixed and crumbly. Add milk a little as a time to make a thick paste.  Press to the bottom of a greased casserole.

Lightly beat eggs, adding milk a little at a time.  Add the other ingredients.  Feel free to add more or different vegetables as you like.  Pour zucchini egg mixture into casserole.  Slice tomatoes thinly and place over the top of the casserole.

Bake about 50 minutes at 350 degrees until a knife comes out clean from the center of the casserole. Let sit 10 – 15 min and serve.

The 49th Annual Buffalo Round Up at Custer State Park

September 26, 27 and 28

Come for the Roundup, Stay for the Arts Festival!

The 21st Annual Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival will be held Friday, September 26, through Sunday, September 28, on the grounds of the State Game Lodge.

Many events will accompany this year’s festival, including:

  • Pancake Feed Saturday & Sunday mornings
  • Continuous entertainment under the big top
  • Annual Chili Cook-off and Dutch Oven Cook-off
  • Living history recreations

Wonderment Gardens will be present at the craft fair will all your favorite herbal products.  Hope to see you there.

Herbal Calendar

The Buffalo Round Up at Custer State Park is the last scheduled event this year.  We will be heading to Texas in October to  participate in The Texas Renaissance Festival in Magnolia Texas from October 11 though December 1.
You can order your favorite herbal products anytime when you order online at wondermentgardens.com.

September 26, 27 and 28
Buffalo Round Up
State Game Lodge
Custer State Park, SD

Travel News

It’s time for traveling again.  This time we will be heading to Texas to participate in the Texas Renaissance Festival in Magnolia Texas.  Please be aware that I will be unavailable for mail orders from October 2nd through the 14th.  
Feel free to call anytime to talk about your herbal and holistic health needs.  All of our products are also available online at wondermentgardens.com.
Thank you for your kind understanding and support!
Many Blessings
Annie