Photos of Cnicus benedictus, Centaurea benedicta, Blessed Thistle, Holy Thistle in flower.

Cnicus benedictus, Blessed Thistle, Holy Thistle, Blessed thistle is a weed of the Mediterranean region and cultivated elsewhere and sporadically escaped. Botanists currently classify it as Centaurea benedicta, but virtually all herb books refer to it under the long-established name Cnicus benedictus. Today, the herb is primarily recognized for extremely bitter components, principally cnicin (ranging from 0.2 to 0.7 percent), first isolated in 1837. The primary use is as a bitter tonic to stimulate digestion in cases of dyspepsia or stomach upset accompanied by gas.

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