Ingredient Spotlight: Blessed Thistle

Blessed Thistle Plant growing wild

Ingredient Spotlight: Blessed Thistle

Blessed Thistle or Cnicus benedictus is a plant that is part of the family Asteraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region, Portugal, France and Iran. Blessed Thistle is characterized by long, narrow leaves that are coated with fine hairs and its characteristically prickly, green, flower. It has a lengthy history as being grown in the gardens of monks and being used in traditional European herbalism since the Middle Ages. Due to its bitter flavor, it is most commonly used in extracts and liqueurs.

Used as a digestive stimulant and nutritive tonic, Blessed Thistle is a vital herb in the herbalist’s apothecary. It contains bitter principles called sesquiterpenes which also cause the bitter taste in Ginkgo Biloba. These bitters stimulate the upper gastrointestinal system and support the breakdown of fats, increasing healthy appetite and aiding in the absorption of nutrients. Tea made from Blessed Thistle has been historically used as a galactagogue to help promote lactation in breastfeeding women.

Blessed Thistle is also an ingredient in the secret recipe used to make Benedictine liqueur which contains 27 different herbs, flowers, roots, and spices including angelica, hyssop, and lemon balm. It is storied that the liqueur was created in 1510 by the Benedictine Monk, Don Bernardo Vincelli. Only three people on earth at a time know the full recipe for this complex beverage.

 

Our Lactation Herbal Tea utilizes Blessed Thistle as a galactagogue to help release prolactin which helps trigger the let-down reflex causing the milk to flow. The boost in prolactin also helps to increase oxytocin which further promotes a healthy milk supply. Lactation herbal tea is the perfect blend of functional and flavor, tasing beautifully light, grassy, and earthy.

Dried Blessed Thistle spilling on to white background
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