Carbenia Benedicta, Cardo Bendito, Cardo Santo, Carduus, Carduus Benedictus, Chardon Béni, Chardon Bénit, Chardon Marbré, Cnici Benedicti Herba, Cnicus, Cnicus benedictus, Holy Thistle, Safran Sauvage, Spotted Thistle, St. Benedict Thistle.
Blessed thistle is a plant. People use the flowering tops, leaves, and upper stems to make medicine. Blessed thistle was commonly used during the Middle Ages to treat the bubonic plague and as a tonic for monks.
Today, blessed thistle is prepared as a tea and used for loss of appetite and indigestion; and to treat colds, cough, fever, bacterial infections, and diarrhea. It is also used as a diuretic for increasing urine output, and for promoting the flow of breast milk in new mothers.
Some people soak gauze in blessed thistle and apply it to the skin for treating boils, wounds, and ulcers.
In manufacturing, blessed thistle is used as a flavoring in alcoholic beverages.
Don't confuse blessed thistle with milk thistle (Silybum marianum).
How does it work?
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Promoting milk flow in breast-feeding mothers.
- Promoting urine flow.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Blessed thistle might be safe for most people. In high doses, such as more than 5 grams per cup of tea, blessed thistle can cause stomach irritation and vomiting.
Intestinal problems, such as infections, Crohn's disease, and other inflammatory conditions: Don't take blessed thistle if you have any of these conditions. It might irritate the stomach and intestines.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Blessed thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking blessed thistle.
AntacidsInteraction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Antacids are used to decrease stomach acid. Blessed thistle may increase stomach acid. By increasing stomach acid, blessed thistle might decrease the effectiveness of antacids.
Some antacids include calcium carbonate (Tums, others), dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate (Rolaids, others), magaldrate (Riopan), magnesium sulfate (Bilagog), aluminum hydroxide (Amphojel), and others.
Medications that decrease stomach acid (H2-blockers)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Blessed thistle might increase stomach acid. By increasing stomach acid, blessed thistle might decrease the effectiveness of some medications that decrease stomach acid, called H2-blockers.
Medications that decrease stomach acid (Proton pump inhibitors)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Blessed thistle might increase stomach acid. By increasing stomach acid, blessed thistle might decrease the effectiveness of medications that are used to decrease stomach acid, called proton pump inhibitors.
The appropriate dose of blessed thistle depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for blessed thistle. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Barrero, A. F., Oltra, J. E., Morales, V., Alvarez, M., and Rodriguez-Garcia, I. Biomimetic cyclization of cnicin to malacitanolide, a cytotoxic eudesmanolide from Centaurea malacitana. J Nat Prod. 1997;60(10):1034-1035. View abstract.
Cobb E. Antineoplastic agent from Cnicus benedictus. Patent Brit 1973;335:181.
Duke JA. Green Pharmacy. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press;1997:507.
Eich, E., Pertz, H., Kaloga, M., Schulz, J., Fesen, M. R., Mazumder, A., and Pommier, Y. (-)-Arctigenin as a lead structure for inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 integrase. J Med Chem 1-5-1996;39(1):86-95. View abstract.
Goggelmann, W. and Schimmer, O. Mutagenicity testing of beta-asarone and commercial calamus drugs with Salmonella typhimurium. Mutat.Res 1983;121(3-4):191-194. View abstract.
Hirano, T., Gotoh, M., and Oka, K. Natural flavonoids and lignans are potent cytostatic agents against human leukemic HL-60 cells. Life Sci 1994;55(13):1061-1069. View abstract.
Kataria H. Phytochemical investigation of medicinal plant Cnicus wallichii and Cnicus benedictus L. Asian J Chem 1995;7:227-228.
Maeda Y and Mitsuya H. Antiretroviral chemotherapy against AIDS. Med Biol Environ 1995;23:267-278.
May, G. and Willuhn, G. [Antiviral effect of aqueous plant extracts in tissue culture]. Arzneimittelforschung 1978;28(1):1-7. View abstract.
Moritani S, Nomura M, Takeda Y, and et al. Cytotoxic components of Bardanae Fructus (Goboshi). Biol Pharm Bull 1996;19:1515-1517.
Nose, M., Fujimoto, T., Nishibe, S., and Ogihara, Y. Structural transformation of lignan compounds in rat gastrointestinal tract; II. Serum concentration of lignans and their metabolites. Planta Med 1993;59(2):131-134. View abstract.
Perez C and Anesini C. Inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by Argentinean medicinal plants. Fitoterapia 1994;65(2):169-172.
Perez, C. and Anesini, C. In vitro antibacterial activity of Argentine folk medicinal plants against Salmonella typhi. J Ethnopharmacol 1994;44(1):41-46. View abstract.
Pfeiffer K, Trumm S, Eich E, and et al. HIV-1 integrase as a target for anti-HIV drugs. Arch STD/HIV Res 1999;6:27-33.
Recio M, Rios J, and Villar A. Antimicrobial activity of selected plants employed in the Spanish Mediterranean area. Part II. Phytother Res 1989;3:77-80.
Ryu SY, Ahn JW, Kang YH, and et al. Antiproliferative effect of arctigenin and arctiin. Arch Pharm Res 1995;18(6):462-463.
Schimmer, O., Kruger, A., Paulini, H., and Haefele, F. An evaluation of 55 commercial plant extracts in the Ames mutagenicity test. Pharmazie 1994;49(6):448-451. View abstract.
Schneider, G. and Lachner, I. [Analysis and action of cnicin]. Planta Med 1987;53(3):247-251. View abstract.
Ulbelen A and Berkan T. Triterpenic and steroidal compounds of Cnicus benedictus. Planta Medica 1977;31:375-377.
Umehara K, Sugawa A, Kuroyanagi M, and et al. Studies on the differentiation-inducers from Arctium fructus. Chem Pharm Bull 1993;41:1774-1779.
Vanhaelen M and Vanhaelen-Fastre R. Lactonic lignans from Cnicus benedictus. Phytochemistry 1975;14:2709.
Vanhaelen-Fastre R. [Polyacetylen compounds from Cnicus benedictus]. Planta Medica 1974;25:47-59.
Vanhaelen-Fastre, R. [Antibiotic and cytotoxic activity of cnicin isolated from Cnicus benedictus L]. J Pharm Belg. 1972;27(6):683-688. View abstract.
Vanhaelen-Fastre, R. [Constitution and antibiotical properties of the essential oil of Cnicus benedictus (author's transl)]. Planta Med 1973;24(2):165-175. View abstract.
Vanhaelen-Fastre, R. and Vanhaelen, M. [Antibiotic and cytotoxic activity of cnicin and of its hydrolysis products. Chemical structure - biological activity relationship (author's transl)]. Planta Med 1976;29(2):179-189. View abstract.
Yang L, Lin S, Yang T, and et al. Synthesis of anti-HIV activity of dibenzylbutyrolactone lignans. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 1996;6(8):941-944.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
Mascolo N, Autore G, Capassa F, et al. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytother Res 1987:28-31.