During the Middle Ages, blessed thistle was used to treat bubonic plague. Modern herbalists consider the aboveground parts of this annual plant a remedy for a range of problems. A component of blessed thistle is the chemical cnicin, an anti-inflammatory agent that also stops bleeding. In addition extracts from the plant contain more than a dozen antibacterial compounds. Blessed thistle is also used to induce vomiting in individuals who have taken poisons, and to regulate menstrual cycles. This bitter herb, sometimes known as St. Benedict's thistle, is used in the liqueur Benedictine.
Taken internally for:
Applied externally for:
Over the counter:
Blessed thistle is available as a tincture, extract and dried herb.
Tea: 1 tsp. dried herb steeped in 1/2 cup boiling water. Consumed unsweetened for problems with digestion.
Poultice: Leaves and other parts mashed and applied to chilblains, wounds and sores.
Combinations: Used with cramp bark, blue cohosh root and ginger to treat menstrual difficulties.