Botanical Name: Cnicus benedictus
Energetics: Neutral, drying
Major Properties: Stomachic, tonic, emmenagogue, galactagogue
Examples of Uses: Increase lactation, treat painful menstruation, stimulate and tonify digestion, increase appetite, digest fat more effectively
Parts Used: Flowering tops, leaves, and upper stem
Tincture - my preference as I feel a tincture preserves the properties of its milky sap best
Tea - dried leaves, especially in regard to increase milk supply for nursing mothers
Edible - young leaves
- I think of Blessed Thistle when the liver needs some support, due to its bitter compounds. I often consider it when mixing up a bitters blend as it seems a gentle, yet powerful tonic for the liver and digestive system. It allows the body to digest fat more effectively, possibly in turn reducing cholesterol and helping to prevent gallstones. Historically, blessed thistle was considered a
"cure-all", even credited with healing during the Bubonic Plague. Seems to make sense to add it to bitters blend, in my opinion anyway.
- A common use today is to promote milk production in lactating women. Studies have shown that taking blessed thistle and fenugreek together were the most effective.
This brief overview merely highlights my observations. There is, of course, a great deal of information that you can find on the Internet or in books. Or better yet - get together with other herbalists and share your experiences!
Please add your own experiences so that together we can create a more comprehensive overview.
As always, if you have a chronic ailment that is not resolving itself or an acute issue, seek the attention of your physician.