Introduction of Blessed Thistle:Holy thistle or Cnicus thistle.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Blessed Thistle, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Cnicus benedictus L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Blessed Thistle, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Blessed Thistle(Holy thistle).

 English Name: Blessed Thistle.
 Latin Name: Cnicus benedictus L.
 Common Names: Cnicus, Holy thistle, Cardin, Spotted thistle, St.Benedicts thistle.
 Property and flavor: The plant has a strong and bitter taste.

 Brief introduction: Blessed Thistle is the above ground parts of Cnicus benedictus, once dried, are used medicinally. In Europe, the dried leaves and upper stems, including the inflorescence, and the flowering parts of the plant are used.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Blessed Thistle as the dried above ground parts of the species (1).Cnicus benedictus L. It is a plant species of the Cnicus genus, the Asteraceae family (Compositae, or daisy family). The dried above-ground parts are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Cnicus benedictus L.

 Botanical description: Cnicus benedictus is an annual herb, it grows up to 30 to 50 cm high, or up to 60 cm high, usually branched from the base, without an obvious main stem, and branches are usually of equal length. All branches are covered with dense multicellular long or short hairs. Middle lower stem and leaf or most stem and leaf are pinnately lobed or deeply lobed, all lobes are triangular or oblong triangular or oblong; Upper stem and leaf are lanceolate, undivided. All the leaves are green on both surfaces, leaf texture is thin, covered with multicellular long or short knot hairs and capitate sessile glandular dots on both surfaces, with acupuncture and dentate serrations on the lobes and leaf edges.

 A few or many flower heads are at the top of stem branches, surrounded by lanceolate bracts. Involucre is ovoid, 2.5 cm in diameter. The involucral bract is about 5 layers, the outer layer is ovate, 1 cm long and 5 mm wide, and the tip is sharply pointed and grows into 3 mm fine needles. The needles are covered with multicellular long knot hairs; The middle layer is oblong or elliptic-lanceolate or lanceolate, 1.5 cm long and 3~6 mm wide, with membranous edges, sharp spikes at the top, needle-like hairs, and pectinate teeth-like; The widest inner layer is linear, nearly 2 cm long and 2.5 mm wide, with short needles at the top, which is not pectinate. The flowers are white or pale yellow, asexual, the corolla is threadlike, the flowers are bisexual, the corolla is tubular, the tubule is 1 cm long, the eaves are 1.5 cm long, ranging from 2-4-lobed, the achene is cylindrical, glabrous, 6 mm long and 2 mm wide, brown, and there are many parallel pinnate ribs, about 20 pinnate ribs, with a fruit margin at the top, and the edge of the fruit margin is serrated. The pappus is hard, with two rows of bristles, setiform, 10~14 bristles in the outer row, dark brown, with no obvious serrated edge, 1.1~1.2 cm long, and about 12 bristles in the inner row, 3.5~4 mm long, covered with spider silk hairs. The flowering and fruiting period is from June to July.

 Ecological environment: Cnicus benedictus grows in meadows and moist environments across Europe and North America, mainly in the Mediterranean region and southern area of Europe, but it is cultivated in other regions of the continent. It also grows in the Tianshan mountains and other regions of western China and the middle to west areas of Asia.

 Growth characteristics: Cnicus benedictus is easily grown in ordinary garden soil, it prefers dry soil and a sunny position, and grows best in a well-manured soil, it is a very ornamental plant, it is often cultivated in Europe as a medicinal herb and for its oil yielding seed.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.stimulate the appetite and aiding digestion; ②.anti-inflammatory effects; ③.antibacterial; etc.

 The herb blessed thistle could stimulate the appetite and aid digestion by encouraging the secretion of saliva and gastric juice mainly due to its component cnicin, a bitter diterpenoid lactone, it can act directly on the stomach and the small intestine. The herb blessed thistle is also found to have an anti-inflammatory effect, useful for arthritis and bursitis. Other studies found the herb has some antibacterial components, and some component is helpful for stopping bleeding.

 Medicinal efficacy: Traditionally, the blessed thistle was used as a remedy for plague in the Middle Ages (the period in European history from the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century CE to the period of the Renaissance). It was recommended for liver and gallbladder disease as it could stimulate bile production, stimulate appetite, as a soothing agent for digestive upset, stomach discomfort, excess gas, etc. Today it is used to control menstrual pain or amenorrhea, regulate the menstrual cycle, relieve stress during menstruation, relieve fever, boost milk production, induce perspiration, dissolve blood clots, control bleeding, and relieve rheumatic pain, and externally for wounds. The herb is approved in Europe for dyspeptic complaints, and loss of appetite, and in folk medicine it is used as a cholagogue, to boost the loss of appetite, anorexia, fever and colds, and as a diuretic, externally for wounds and ulcers.

 Administration of Blessed Thistle (Holy thistle): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Blessed Thistle (Holy thistle)
Herbal classic books: In North America, the herb blessed thistle is recommended 4~6 grams daily. A decoction is advised to make using 1 and a half to 2 teaspoons of the finely chopped herb in a cup of water, drink one cup one hour before meals. Take 10~20 drops of herbal saps in water daily, or take two capsules three times daily. A tea is advised to prepare with 150 ml boiling water over 1.5~2 grams of herb, brewing for 5 to 10 minutes. One cup of tea is taken 3 times a day.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: In general, the herb blessed thistle appears to be harmless, but it can cause allergic reactions. It should be avoided if you are sensitive to other members of the daisy family. The herb should also be avoided for those people with acute stomach inflammation, ulcers, or hyperacidity because it stimulates gastric juices. Pregnant women should avoid the herb, for one of its traditional use is to stimulate menstruation. The plant brings allergic reactions in contact, such as very painful inflammation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, so one should wear protective glasses and clothes, and gloves if one plans to collect it yourself.

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