Blessed thistle, (also known as Carduus benedictus and Carbenia benedicta), is a member of the Asteracea, or daisy, family. Thistle is the common name of a number of flowering plants characterized by leaves with sharp spines on the margins, mostly in the plant family Asteraceae.
The leaves are 3 to 6 inches long, more or less hairy, with margins lobed and spiny. Blessed thistle is also known as holy thistle, St. Benedict thistle, cardin, and spotted thistle. This herbaceous annual has been cultivated for centuries as a medicinal herb.
Blessed thistle has been used primarily as a female tonic to support the reproductive system. It is considered to be one of the best herbs to stimulate the flow of milk in lactating women, and its emmenagogue action (promotes menstrual discharge) helps to regulate female hormone balance and relieve menstrual pain. Blessed thistle is used to regulate the hormone balance in women and alleviate painful menstrual cramps. It may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. It was a component of many herbal remedies used to combat the plague. Blessed thistle helps strengthen the heart and lungs and increases circulation. Blessed thistle is used for indigestion, diarrhea and as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages. It is also used as a brain food for stimulating the memory.