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 it works
Blessed thistle contains tannins which might help diarrhea, coughs, and inflammation. However, there isn't enough information to know how well blessed thistle might work for many of its uses.
Not ProvenDiarrheaCoughsInfectionsBoilsWoundsPromoting milk flow in breast-feeding mothersPromoting urine flowOther conditions
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.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don't take blessed thistle bymouthif you arepregnant. There is some evidence that it might not be safe duringpregnancy. It's also best to avoid blessed thistle if you arebreast-feeding. Not enough is known about the safety of this product.Are there any interactions with medications?
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.
MinorMedications that decrease stomach acid (Proton pump inhibitors)
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.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.Some medications that decrease stomach acid include cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), nizatidine (Axid), and famotidine (Pepcid).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.Some medications that decrease stomach acid include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium).