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Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium)

Scotch thistle
Image: H. Zell, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0


dissolving, diuretic, anti-cancer, antiviral

Areas of application:

Heart, cancer, ulcers, cardiac arrhythmias, cramps, high blood pressure, solar plexus chakra - upper abdominal organs and metabolism, immune system

Plant parts used:

Root, stems, leaves, seeds

Collection time:

July to September

To find:

Rather rare in Central Europe. On rubble-rich areas in northern Iran, Central Asia, North Africa and North America. Huge specimens can be found in some cottage gardens, and they have also been spotted at train stations or along small railway lines, all the way up to northern Germany.


Bitter substances, tannins, flavon glycosides, oils


The Scotch thistle has a fleshy root, the young stems/leaves taste like artichokes. The stems are peeled and the spines must first be removed from the leaves. Leaves and stems taste best from plants that are not yet ready to bloom. The tubular flowers are dried and are a substitute for saffron; they color and flavor excellently. The seeds contain an oil that is used in folk medicine primarily for neck compresses, to care for facial skin, but also as salad oil.

The German alternative practitioner Mario Fassen recommends trying fresh juice or essence for anyone suffering from cancer (3x 20 drops daily)

Finding Scotch thistle juice or essence online is extremely difficult, but I found a shop that sells Scotch thistle essence. Just not for the applications listed above. It says "For butterflies in the stomach" - helps to find our way back to earth when we start to take off due to joyful emotions. When you're in love and forget everything around you - or you don't want to see anything anymore because of your grief." Mmmmh, I wasn't happy with it. This means that you have to buy the seeds and plant them yourself and then make the juice and essence yourself. If you've found something, just write it down in the comments below. The only thing I can think of is the pharmacy that would make it if requested.

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