As a plant out in nature, blessed thistle is a beautiful – almost scary – sight to behold. Its brightly colored flowering tops, stems, and leaves are all known for their prickly appearance and texture. But since the Middle Ages, the plant has also been renowned for its potential health benefits. Learn about seven potential blessed thistle benefits to your health here!
Blessed thistle, also called holy thistle or St. Benedict’s thistle, contains tannins. The word “tannins” may make you think of the glass of wine you had with dinner last night. However, historically, the word comes from the practice of using plant extracts to cure leather – known as the tanning process. “This process exploits one of the key properties of tannins: they have a strong tendency to link up with a range of other chemical entities, most particularly proteins,” writes wine blogger Jamie Goode.
What Are Tannins?
We’re not making leather shoes or wine here, though. Today, tannins are defined more functionally. “They are polyphenolic compounds that bind to and precipitate proteins,” Goode writes.
Polyphenols are are micronutrients found in plants that are packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. Tannins are water-soluble polyphenols that play a role in protecting the body against cellular oxidative damage, which means they are a crucial part of supporting the body’s natural front line of defense – the immune system.
“It’s a slightly complicated picture,” writes Goode. “Not all polyphenols can act as tannins, and not all phenolics that bind proteins are tannins, but it’s still a useful definition.”
Blessed Thistle Benefits
Dr. Marissa Marciano explains that herbs and supplements containing tannins, which are produced by almost all plants, including blessed thistle, may potentially support skin and tissue health by drying up watery secretions to help keep harmful microbes at bay. If you’ve ever felt your tongue a bit dry after drinking wine, that can be attributed to tannins at work.
So what does that have to do with blessed thistle benefits? Blessed thistle contains those tannins, offering potential support for the following:
- Seasonal health support
- Digestive system health
- Skin health
- Upper respiratory health
- Microorganism protection
- Urinary tract health
- Breast milk production
Recommended Blessed Thistle Dosage
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, blessed thistle dosage depends on age, health conditions, and other factors. Be sure to follow directions on product labels and consult your healthcare professional before using blessed thistle, especially if you have allergies, or are already taking supplements or prescription medicines. Pregnant women should never consume blessed thistle.
Blessed thistle can be found in many forms, including in capsules, tinctures, or extracts and can also be used as an herbal poultice for topical use on the skin. Shop Natural Healthy Concepts for quality blessed thistle supplements and related resources to support your healthy lifestyle.
If you’ve tried blessed thistle and have noticed benefits by adding it to your diet, we’d love to hear more in the comments below.