Blessed Thistle Blessed Thistle
Cnicus benedictus L. (Asteraceae)

Common Names
Blessed thistle, bitter thistle, blessed carduus, carduus, cursed thistle, holy thisle, lady's thistle, spotted carduus, spotted thistle

This annual grows to about 2 feet in height. Leaves are thistle-like, toothed, lobed, and spiny. Produces many flowered yellow heads.

Flowering Period
April to August. Range
North Africa, Asia, Mediterranean and Portugal

Roadsides and waste places.

Herbs and tops in bloom; ripe seed.


The upper portion of this plant has been used to expel worms; and it is also used in an emmenagogue, stimulant, tonic, and emetic. Because it is hemostatic, the seed useful as an emetic. In Europe, ground parts of the plant mixed with wine for use as an aperitif.

A mixture of leaves and flowers was taken in food or drink to help dizziness, deafness and to strengthen memory.

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