Not all thistle is created equal. Thistles are flowering plants characterized by sharp prickles all over the plant, including the stem, leaves, and the flowerhead itself. The use of different thistle plants has been recorded since medieval times, even believed back then to bring hair back to a bald head. There is also record that thistle plants were used to treat snakebites during the first century. That said, there are differences in the types of thistle plants and the potential health benefits of each. A good example: blessed thistle vs milk thistle.
Blessed Thistle, the Basics
People have made use of the flowering tops, leaves, and upper stems of blessed thistle for medicine for generations. During the Middle Ages, it was even commonly used to treat the bubonic plague.
In recent times, blessed thistle is often prepared as a tea, extract, tincture, and in capsules, and used most commonly for loss of appetite and to treat digestion issues. Blessed thistle is also used to support upper respiratory health, as a diuretic to promote urination, and to promote the flow of breast milk in new mothers. For direct application to the skin, a poultice of blessed thistle can be made.
However, it’s important to note that those with allergies or sensitivities to ragweed and related plants may also react the same to blessed thistle. So what’s the difference between blessed thistle vs milk thistle?
Milk Thistle, the Basics
While blessed thistle may benefit a healthy digestive system, milk thistle is touted for supporting a healthy liver.
The use of milk thistle as medicine has also been documented for centuries, yet it became less common in the West during the 20th-century, perhaps with the discovery of penicillin and other scientific approaches. But during the 1970s in Germany, where herbs have remained an integral part of medical care, scientists began testing milk thistle’s seeds and discovered compounds collectively referred to as silymarin.
During the 1980s, researchers learned that silymarin supports the ability of liver cells to regenerate through a vital bodily process known as protein synthesis. Additionally, laboratory and human research showed that silymarin helps counteract the effects of poisons, even that from the deathcap mushroom (Amanita phalloides), the most virulent liver toxin known.
Germany continues its endorsement of the use of milk thistle as a supportive treatment for liver conditions, especially health issues caused by alcohol or toxins. It also recognizes that silymarin possesses the ability to help protect the body against liver damage if taken before toxin exposure.
Blessed Thistle vs Milk Thistle Supplements
At Natural Healthy Concepts, we take pride in bringing you a variety of the best supplement options available in our store. A few of our favorite blessed thistle and milk thistle options include:
- Blessed Thistle, capsules. Blessed Thistle by Solaray is a dietary supplement featuring 340 mg of blessed thistle to support digestion.
- Blessed Thistle, extract. Blessed Thistle from Herb Pharm is prepared from the whole flowering herb of Cnicus benedictus (blessed thistle) plants, which have been certified organically grown.
- Milk Thistle Seed, capsules. Milk Thistle Seed by Gaia Herbs is a milk thistle liver detox cleanse supplement for natural, herbal liver detox.
- Milk Thistle for Pets, oral liquid. Milk Thistle for Pets by Pet Wellbeing helps protect dogs and cats from toxins and free radical damage naturally from the inside out with milk thistle liquid drops formulated for pets. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully.
A Note Before Using Blessed Thistle vs Milk Thistle
When adding any new supplement or herb to your diet, we recommend you talk to your healthcare practitioner first. If you think you may be pregnant, or if you have allergies to plants in the Asteraceae family, including ragweed, do not take blessed thistle supplements. Otherwise, your healthcare professional is likely to recommend a personalized dosage plan for you based on your current health goals and other medicines or supplements you may currently be taking.
Do you have any questions about blessed thistle vs milk thistle? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.