It is highly respected in Europe.
Edible Parts: Coffee; Flowers; Leaves; Oil; Oil; Root; Stem.
Root - raw or cooked[1, 2, 4, 52, 183]. A mild flavour and somewhat
mucilaginous texture[K]. When boiled, the roots resemble salsify
(Tragopogon hispanicus)[1, 4, 115]. Leaves - raw or cooked[1, 4, 5, 52,
89, 115]. The very sharp leaf-spines must be removed first[46, 183],
which is quite a fiddly operation[K]. The leaves are quite thick and
have a mild flavour when young, at this time they are quite an
acceptable ingredient of mixed salads, though they can become bitter in
hot dry weather[K]. When cooked they make an acceptable spinach
substitute. It is possible to have leaves available all year round
from successional sowings[K]. Flower buds - cooked[1, 238]. A globe
artichoke substitute[12, 183], they are used before the flowers open.
The flavour is mild and acceptable, but the buds are quite small and
even more fiddly to use than globe artichokes[K]. Stems - raw or
cooked[4, 100]. They are best peeled and can be soaked to reduce the
bitterness[5, 183]. Palatable and nutritious[4, 115], they can be used
like asparagus or rhubarb or added to salads. They are best used in
spring when they are young. A good quality oil is obtained from the
seeds. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[21, 46, 61, 183].
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse
effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional
before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent; Bitter; Cholagogue; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emetic; Emme
nagogue; Hepatic; Homeopathy; Stimulant; Stomachic;
Blessed thistle has a long history of use in the West as a remedy for
depression and liver problems. Recent research has confirmed that
it has a remarkable ability to protect the liver from damage resulting
from alcoholic and other types of poisoning. The whole plant is
astringent, bitter, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic,
emmenagogue, hepatic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[4, 21, 160, 165,
238]. It is used internally in the treatment of liver and gall bladder
diseases, jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatitis and poisoning. The plant
is harvested when in flower and dried for later use. Silymarin, an
extract from the seed, acts on the membranes of the liver cells
preventing the entry of virus toxins and other toxic compounds and thus
preventing damage to the cells. It also dramatically improves liver
regeneration in hepatitis, cirrhosis, mushroom poisoning and other
diseases of the liver[222, 238, 254]. German research suggests that
silybin (a flavonoid component of the seed) is clinically useful in the
treatment of severe poisoning by Amanita mushrooms. Seed extracts
are produced commercially in Europe. Regeneration of the liver is
particularly important in the treatment of cancer since this disease is
always characterized by a severely compromised and often partially
destroyed liver[K]. A homeopathic remedy is obtained from equal parts of
the root and the seed with its hulls still attached. It is used in
the treatment of liver and abdominal disorders.
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