Cnicus benedictus

Blessed Thistle

Cnicus benedictus

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. It is used to make bitter tonics and liqueurs.

Icon / Delivery
Traditional Health Benefits of Blessed Thistle


What is Blessed Thistle Used for?

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.

View Important Precautions

Active Constituents of Blessed Thistle

Tannins, bitter principles (sesquiterpene lactones), Cnicin.

Parts Used


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.

Important Precautions

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


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.

Still need help deciding?

Access our guided product selector to find the right Gaia Herbs product.