The 7+ Benefits Of Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)

Blessed Thistle Supports Bile And Milk Production

blessed thistle

In this post, we will discus the bioactive components of Blessed Thistle, its benefits, my experience, and possible downsides.


  1. Basics
  2. Benefits Of Blessed Thistle
  3. My Experience With Blessed Thistle
  4. Buy Blessed Thistle
  5. Dosage For Blessed Thistle
  6. Caveats
  7. Mechanism Of Action
  8. More Research


Blessed Thistle (BT) or Holy Thistle (HT), which is commonly known as "march grass" is in the same genus as milk thistle, but its pharmacological effects have not been studies as extensively.R

Among the benefits (discussed below), blessed thistle has been traditionally used as a treatment for digestive disorders, infections, fevers, menstrual problems, impaired lactation, renal disorders, difficulty sweating, cancer, wound healing, neuroprotection, and as a contraceptiveR

Blessed Thistle contains: R

  • Flavonoids - apigenin-7-O-glucoside, luteolin and astragalin
  • Lignans - trachelogenin, nortracheloside, arctiin, and arctigenin
  • Sesquiterpene lactone glycosides - cnicin, polyacetylen, absinthin, salonitenolide and artemisiifolin.
  • Tannins - n-nonane, n-undecane, n- tridecane, dodeca-l,ll-dien-3,5,7,9-tetrain (polyyne), pcymene, fenchon, citral, cinnamaldehyde
  • Triterpenoids - a-amyrenone, a-amyrin acetate, a-amyrine, and multiflorenol acetate
  • Other - nutritional components (tocopherols), minerals, trace elements, phenolic compounds, saponins, alkaloids, starch, glycosides, triterpenes and coumarins

Benefits Of Blessed Thistle

1. Improves Digestion, Flatulence, And Diarrhea

blessed thistle gut

Blessed thistle has traditionally been used to stimulate appetite, decrease flatulence, and aid digestion. R

For example, Gastritol (the combination of chamomile, silverweed, licorice, angelica, blessed thistle and wormwood) has shown to improve symptoms of indigestion and gastrointestinal spasms. R

It's also used to treat dyspepsia, flatulence and indigestion. R

2. May Help Gallstones And Liver Function

LIV-A (a combination of parsley, blessed thistle, angelica, chamomile, gentian, and goldenrod) as bitters, has been used to increase/stimulate bile secretion. R

3. Has Antimicrobial Properties

Blessed thistle has anti-bacterial activity against:

  • Bacillus proteus R
  • Enterococcus faecalis R
  • Escherichia coli R
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa R
  • Salmonella enteritidis R
  • Salmonella typhimurium R
  • Shigella sonnei R
  • Staphylococcus aureus R
  • Streptococcus pyogenes R

Blessed thistle has anti-fungal activity against:

  • Aspergillus fumigatus R

4. Improves Lactation

Blessed thistle may help with lactation. R R R

Blessed thistle is traditionally used as a galactagogue in nursing mothers to increase and enrich milk flow. R

5. Increases Wound Healing

Blessed thistle may help with wound healing. R

For example, in animal models blessed thistle reduces the percentage reduction of wound (98.81 %) at day 14, against those treated by Baneocin ointment (95.69%). R

6. May Help Prevent Cancer 

blessed thistle cancer

Blessed thistle may help prevent cancer. R

The flavanoids in blessed thistle are known for their potent antioxidant and anti-tumor activities. R

Anticancer activity against:

  • Breast Cancer R
  • Kidney Cancer R
  • Melanoma R
  • Multiple Myeloma R
  • Prostate Cancer R

Blessed thistle has high cytotoxicity against human-derived macrophages. R

7. May Be Neuroprotective

Blessed thistle may have neuroprotective effects. R

For example, blessed thistle can increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (by inhibition of acetylcholinesterase). R

My Experience With Blessed Thistle

I have used this blessed thistle for biliary dyskinesia and I have seen improvement in my gallbladder function and my ability to handle fatty foods.  

I've also used this version of blessed thistle and had similar effects.

Buy Blessed Thistle


The dried leaves, upper stem, and flowers are used traditionally in medicine. R

Forms of blessed thistle:

Dosage For Blessed Thistle

Infusions: 1.5-2g of BT. R

Daily dosage: 4-6 g of BT. R

Aromatic bitter: 1 cup 30-min before meals (1 cup of tea is taken, 3x day). R 

Tincture: 1-2ml of the tincture, 3x day. R

Liquid extract (1:1 in 25% alcohol): 1.5-3.0 ml, 3x day. R


Those allergic to herbs in the Asteraceae family (such as feverfew, chamomile, or Echinacea species) should not take blessed thistle. R

Gastric irritation and vomiting have been reported from high doses (over 5 grams per cup of tea). R

Mega-doses of the raw herb may cause rupture in the esophagus, leading to death (only seen in two reports). R

Mechanism Of Action


  • Increases ACh R
  • Increases Caspases R
  • Reduces AChE R
  • Reduces iNOS R
  • Reduces NF-kB R
  • Reduces Pim-2 R

More Research

  • Blessed Thistle with Lamb is a dish common to the Aegean coast and Aegean sea islands among Turkish and Greek people. R