Medicinal plants

Holy thistle

Holy thistle: characteristics

The holy thistle is a plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. It is a herbaceous, perennial plant, whose origins are to be found in the Mediterranean basin, and which grows spontaneously especially on flat land. To develop properly it needs humus-rich and very deep soils. Generally it has a modest height, between 20 and 50 cm, but in some cases it can reach almost one meter. The stems and branches are reddish in color and have more or less long hairs throughout its length. The caule is erect but is sometimes found in very small size. The leaves are about 10 cm long and are triangular in shape, with serrated lobes ending in a series of thorns. The flowers have a yellow corolla crossed by purple veins.

Holy thistle: properties


The thistle has remarkable phytotherapeutic properties, due to the presence of a series of active ingredients, among which we remember: flavonoids, mucilages, glycosides, lithospermic acid, magnesium, potassium, manganese and calcium. The chemical composition of the holy thistle, therefore, makes it particularly valuable in the treatment of disorders related to organs such as the pharynx, the digestive system, the brain and even the skin. Its properties are in fact diuretic, digestive and neurotonic. Precisely for this reason the holy thistle is used in phytotherapy to counteract dyspepsia and other digestive disorders, but also lack of appetite since its bitter taste stimulates the stomach to produce gastric juices. Finally, it counteracts asthenia, colds, hyperthermia, boils and even acne.

Holy thistle: uses


But how should the holy thistle be taken and in what quantities? First of all you need to know that the leaves and roots are used in the preparation based on holy thistle. You can choose to prepare an herbal tea, or take holy thistle in the form of mother tincture. The mixture for the herbal tea can also be prepared at home, by drying the leaves of the holy thistle; or it can be purchased in any herbalist’s shop. Holy thistle tea should be consumed half an hour before meals once or twice a day. Simply put a teaspoon of the mixture in one hundred ml of water, and filter once it has boiled. The mother tincture is instead difficult to make and it is advisable to buy one of the many products on the market you can take thirty drops three times a day.

holy thistle: contraindications


There are contraindications to using holy thistle. If taken according to the methods and dosage indicated, no particular problems should arise regarding the use of thistle, in the form of herbal tea or tincture. However, it must be considered that the stimulating activity of the holy thistle, which by causing a reflex action causes the stomach to produce greater quantities of gastric juices, can cause damage to people suffering from stomach problems. Therefore, if you suffer from gastritis, or worse still from an ulcer, the intake of holy thistle should be very limited or avoided altogether. Not recommended for use in the presence of kidney and urinary tract problems. If the indicated dosage is not respected it is possible that the thistle induces vomiting and fever.

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