Blessed Thistle


Not to be confused with Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Blessed Thistle is native to the Mediterranean and is a member of the Aster family (asteraceae) that was grown in the gardens of monks. Used to make bitter tonics and liqueurs.


The use of bitter plants to tonify digestion is one of the primary tools in the herbalist’s repertoire. Proper digestion is the foundation of health. Blessed thistle does contain bitter principles called sesquiterpenes which also impart the bitter taste to the wormwood’s (Artemisia) and to _Ginkgo biloba). Bitters stimulate the secretion of digestive juices in the stomach and support the breakdown of fats, supporting a healthy appetite and assisting in the assimilation of nutrients. The tea has been used historically by midwives and naturopaths to support healthy breast milk production.

Uses of Blessed Thistle


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Tannins, bitter principles (sesquiterpene lactones), Cnicin.

Parts Used

  • Herb

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Schneider, G. and Lachner, I. [Analysis and action of cnicin]. Planta Med 1987;53(3):247-251
Vanhaelen-Fastre, R. [Constitution and properties of the essential oil of Cnicus benedictus (author’s transl)]. Planta Med 1973;24(2):165-175.

Herb Reference Guide

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.