The holy thistle is a native of Europe, now cultivated in gardens all over the world. It is now naturalized in the U.S.
It has a feeble, unpleasant odor and an intensely bitter taste, more disagreeable in the fresh than the dried plant. Water and alcohol extract its virtues. The infusion formed with cold water is a grateful bitter; the decoction is nauseous and offensive to the stomach. The bitterness remains in the extract. The whole HERB is used.
The cold infusion, made of 1/2 oz. LEAVES to 1 pt. water is a mild tonic in weak and debilitated conditions of the stomach, biliousness, excellent in dyspepsia, remitting and intermitting fevers, and loss of appetite. The dose of the powder as a tonic is 1 dr.; that of the infusion is 2 fl. oz.
The warm infusion, 1 oz. to 1 pt. boiling water, in wine-glassful doses will be found of value in breaking up colds; also in menstrual derangements due to colds.
The warm infusion of the leaves is a relaxing diaphoretic, producing only mild perspiration.
A stronger infusion, taken warm while confined to bed, produces copious perspiration.
A still stronger infusion or the decoction, taken in large doses, promotes nausea and vomiting without pain and inconvenience, its influence being manifested upon the liver and gall ducts, the results being a free flow of bile.
For females with pelvis weakness and constipation, add 2 parts squaw vine (mitchella) to 1 part thistle.
As a clarifier of blood, drinking an infusion once or twice a day, sweetened with honey, it would be useful for headache, or what is commonly called the migraine. In fact, this plant has very great power in the purification and circulation of the blood, from the bad state of which arise all the humors of the body.
It will also cleanse the stomach, which must produce good
blood, and good blood cannot but produce good and healthy secretions.
It is also good for dropsy or ague, neither of which can exist if the circulation of blood be pure. Every mother would do well to give thistle to her daughter from the age of 10 to 20. It may prevent them enduring years of pain and misery.
It strengthens all the principal members of the body as the heart, the stomach, the kidneys, the liver, and the lungs.
There is no doubt about this plant being used for centuries. It is certainly a fine blood medicine, and combined with queen’s delight, yellow parilla, or the dock roots (red dock, yellow, or burdock) will form a very useful alterative remedy.