First used in Ayurvedic medicine, the popularity of Blessed Thistle had spread to different parts of Europe and gained footing in European folk medicine as it was considered a powerful medicinal herb. It is also suggested through a number of sources that this plant was believed to protect against irritations, restlessness, evil spirits, and witches. Blessed Thistle was cultivated in monastery gardens and was associated with purification. As an all-cure herb, it was used to keep the whole body healthy, treat ailments, combat the plague, cure smallpox, and even a very deadly disease like cancer. While its healing capacity had been exaggerated, one cannot deny the fact that it is still a powerful herb whose healing components can help keep the body, mind, and spirit healthy.
Characteristics of Blessed Thistle
Blessed Thistle, which is also known as Holy Thistle, Spotted Thistle, St. Benedict’s Thistle and by its Scientific name Cnicus benedictus is an annual plant that can grow up to 60 cm. It has hairy leathery leaves that are like dandelions and fuzzy yellow flowers that are produced in a dense flower head. Like its cousin, Milk Thistle, this herb which is being considered as a useless weed by some because it is difficult to eradicate, is full of medicinal properties that protect the liver. It is a native to the Mediterranean area and is known to grow in environments that have been damaged. Thus, it helps the land heal by keeping people and animals away.
Modern Medicinal Value
Blessed Thistle is a magical plant not because it can grow easily, survive in most soil types and withstand herbicides, but because of the wonders it can do to one’s health which include the following:
- It can help improve appetite and treat indigestion
A good appetite is the key to a healthy diet and digestion. Feeling hungry is an indication that you are producing hydrochloric acid and gastric juices which are essential in breaking down the food that is consumed and turned into the needed nutrients that the body needs. Blessed Thistle has been traditionally used to improve digestive health as it increases appetite, facilitate digestion, and stimulate gastric juices, saliva and the flow of bile.
- It has anti-bacterial properties
Anti-bacterials are important in helping keep the human body free from diseases as they slow down or control the growth of bacteria. Blessed Thistle has powerful anti-bacterial , anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties which are effective in treating wounds, cuts, and a number of minor ailments. Considering the harmful effects of many artificially-produced medicines, this plant can be considered a good natural remedy for some of our health problems which are caused by bacterial infections.
- It helps improve liver function
The liver is not only the largest organ in the human body. It has important metabolic functions as well. It detoxifies the body as it converts toxic substances into harmless substances. It converts the nutrients from the food that we eat into substances that the body can use, stores these substances, and supplies cells with them when needed. Thus, liver disease can be considered a serious health problem in Australia since one in three Australian adults suffers from fatty liver disease. Blessed Thistle helps keep this organ healthy as it supports and promotes liver health.
- It may increase milk production in nursing mothers
One cannot downplay the role of breast milk in a baby’s development. Human milk provides the needed nutrients of a growing infant since it contains antibodies that help the baby fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. However, low supply milk is a problem for many nursing mothers. For centuries, the Blessed Thistle plant is being used as a natural galactagogue which can help boost the flow of milk by increasing the levels of prolactin, the hormone which is responsible for increasing the mother’s milk supply and oxytocin.
Blessed Thistle tea is not recommended for pregnant women, infants, and young children.