Welcome to Part Three of my gardening miniseries where I’m introducing a few things I’m growing in my gardens this summer (and tell you why I’m growing them)! Click the links for parts one (German Chamomile) and two (Orange Giant Amaranth).
Today I’d like to introduce you to a a lovely flower/herb/thistle called Blessed or Holy Thistle (Cardernia benedicta). According to Nutritional Herbology, “The term blessed was applied centuries ago to this plant from its reputation as a cure all, a remedy even for the Black Plague of the Middle Ages. Benedictus is from the Latin meaning blessed, which was derived from the plant’s curative properties which were considered a gift from God.” This hardy annual not only makes quite a statement in your flower gardens, but it also will prove to provide you with remedies for many medicinal purposes.
Why Grow Blessed or Holy Thistle?
Holy Thistle is a gorgeous herbaceous flower that can reach 2 ft. tall. As you can see, the flower itself is a very vibrant purple. Aren’t the thistles simply lovely!? They serve to keep predators from eating them. Neat! Although beautiful, they are quite bitter in a tea or tonic, but that won’t stop me from indulging. Read on to see why
The list of healing properties of the holy thistle seem to be never-ending. I’ve read several articles regarding the medicinal uses of this herbaceous plant and the list goes on and on. This plant has been used for centuries and centuries; in fact, it was used to help combat the Great Plague. Ancient Romans would eat the leaf fresh and would boil the root as a vegetable. Here are only a few of the medicinal uses for Holy Thistle (when used as a tea, tincture, or in a capsule form)…
- Enrich and increase milk supply in nursing mothers
- Balance female hormone issues
- Strengthen heart and lungs
- Bring oxygen to the brain
- Improve memory
- Fever reducer (I’m thinking that this will be great for my toddler!)
- Increase circulation throughout the body
- Increase bile flow and other gastric actions (liver detox!!)
- Decrease inflammation
…see the last two bullet points!?? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll know why these last two things are quite important to me. I have been on a mission to detox my body (in particular, my liver) to help alleviate my horrific eczema. I believe that my “bucket” is full and I have been taking steps to empty it. This is a journey, but I am doing much better since I’ve started making these conscious efforts. I believe that this powerful herbaceous plant will help. I cannot wait to harness the awesome power these beauties have inside!
I plan to not only drink homemade Holy Thistle tea (with a little honey), but I plan to bathe in the flowers, too. It can’t hurt! I’ll just toss them in with my German Chamomile. I am also going to try my hand at drying these for the purpose of making my own capsules. 🙂
Can I Grow Blessed or Holy Thistle?
I’d be willing to bet that you can! Here are some details about growing Holy Thistle…
- Requires full sun
- Needs well-drained soil that isn’t too terribly rich and is a little on the dry side
- They are fairly low maintenance, once they get started
When & How Do I Grow Blessed or Holy Thistle?
- If you live in a warmer climate that doesn’t get below 0 degrees F you can plant them in early fall.
- Where I live they need to be sown now (early spring)
- You can start them inside and carefully transplant, or sow them directly into soil
- They need to be thinned to about two feet apart
Can I Purchase Dried Blessed or Holy Thistle?
Oh yes, of course. I have purchased Blessed or Holy Thistle here before, and was very pleased. I have made tinctures and infused oils with theses bulk herbs and have been very happy with results.
You can read about their Blessed or Holy Thistle here, too.
Here are a few excellent resources to learn more about Blessed or Holy Thistle…
- Shirley’s Wellness Cafe– Shirley has a wealth of knowledge re: holistic health
- Mountain Rose Herbs– Among many other holistic healing items, as mentioned above, you can order dried Holy Thistle here
- Botanical.com– A site full of great information for all things botanical
- Some beautiful images through Google…just because they are so pretty 🙂
Until next time…
Jess, aka Scratch Mommy