Posted by Bangzkie Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Cnicus benedictus (St. Benedict's thistle, blessed thistle, holy thistle or spotted thistle), was the sole species in the genus Cnicus, but has been reclassified as Centaurea benedicta. (Note, this is not the same as milk thistle.) It is a thistle-like plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Mediterranean region, from Portugal north to southern France and east to Iran. It is known in other parts of the world, including parts of North America, as an introduced species and often a noxious weed.
Medicinal uses It has sometimes been used as a galactogogue to promote lactation. The crude extracts contain about 0.2% cnicin. It is recommended for use by public health nurses in Ontario, Canada, as well as by the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation along with fenugreek to increase lactation in nursing mothers. It is also a component in some bitters formulas.
These thistles are not considered edible, unlike Cirsium, Arctium and Onopordum species; the leaves are considered unpalatable if not bitter.