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Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
A very ornamental plant. Yellow flowers from midsummer. Grows to 60cm high with dark, white-veined leaves. Seeds freely. Thrives in dry, stony ground and wasteland. Widely naturalised throughout Europe, having originally been cultivated as a medicinal herb from the Middle Ages. The name Cnicus comes from the Greek knekos meaning ‘thistle’.
This hardy annual is one of the oldest folk remedies for treating absence of the menstrual cycle. It has been used in treating liver problems and is thought to help improve appetite.
A bitter and anti-inflammatory herb, its volatile oil is thought to have antibiotic properties.
Taken generally as a tincture for minor digestive ailments or used in a healing balm for wounds and sores. Young leaves can be used in salads.
Excessive does can cause vomiting – Please always consult a professional before using herbs medicinally.
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