Centaurea benedicta (L.) L. - syn.Cnicus benedictus L. - Asteraceae
blessed thistle, holy thistle, Benediktenkraut, Bitterdistel, Gesegnete Distel
Annual herb, up to 50cm tall, native to the Mediterranean, naturalized in Europe, Northern America; leaves cleft to parted, minutely hairy, spiny on the margin, up to 30cm long; flowers yellow, lacking distinct rays, flower head 3-4cm in diam., surrounded by numerous spiny basal bracts.
The whole herb (Cnici benedicti herba) is used mainly as bitter tonic and stomachic to treat dyspepsia and loss of appetite. The biological activity is ascribed to the bitter substances, sesquiterpene lactones of the germacran type like the main constituent cnicin (0.2-0.7%) and smaller quantities of artemisiifolin and salonitenolide. The bitterness is partly due to trachelogenin, arctigenin, and nortracheloside. Extracts are traditionally used in Europe in herbal liquers.
[Medicinal Plants of the World. Ben-Erik Van Wyk and Michael Wink, Pretoria 2004, 87]
[M. Wichtl, Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals, 5th ed., Medpharm Scientific Publishers, Stuttgart 2009]
„Blessed thistle leaves, stems, and flowers have traditionally been used in „bitter“ tonic drinks and in other preparations taken orally to enhance appetite and digestion… the tested samples have antibacterial activity on gram+ coccus and gram- bacillus (Escherichia genus). The aqueous solutions that we tested presented antimicrobial activity against the following germs: Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella enteritidis, Shigella sonnei, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Proteus vulgaris, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis. The sensitivity of the Proteus strains is remarkable and it is different from the antimicrobial activity of other plant extracts that we tested.“
[The antimicrobial activity of the Cnicus benedictus L. extracts., Szabó, I., Pallag, A., Blidar, C.F., Analele Universitatii din Oradea, Fascicula Biologie, 16(1), 2009, 126-8]
Centaurea benedicta (L.) L. as Cnicus benedictus L.
Kohl,F.G., Die officinellen Pflanzen der Pharmacopoea Germanica, t.154 (1891-1895)