Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus), not to be confused with St Mary's Thistle (or Milk Thistle) got its name from its reputation for healing all. It has benefits for liver protection, digestive health, breast milk supply and more.
Blessed thistle herb is a cholagogue herb, meaning it stimulates bile production which helps digestion of fats. This helps to lower cholesterol and prevent gallstones. It supports liver function and detoxification.
The effect on the digestive system is stimulation of gastric juices and increase in digestive enzymes therefore improving digestion and appetite. As a tea it can be used for loss of appetite, nausea and indigestion. It has a diuretic action.
A study has shown that the combination of fenugreek and blessed thistle capsules was the best herbal galactagogue, that is increasing breast milk supply. It supports the digestion of both mother and breastfed baby.
Other uses of blessed thistle tablets include as an antimicrobial and can be used for bacterial infections. It is also anti-inflammatory actions but should not be taken where there is inflammatory bowel disease.
Dose for this herb is 1 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of tea up to 3 times per day. Generally considered safe, it can cause stomach irritation in large doses and is not recommended for use in pregnancy.
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