Herbs of the Holyland by Nissim Krispil

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Holy Thistle
Common name:

Holy Thistle

Synonym name:

Hebrew name:

גדילן מצוי

Scientific name:

Silybum marianum


Asteraceae (Composte)

Arabic name:

ח'ורפיש אל-ג'מאל

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annual plant
0.5-1.5 m
Flowering color:
Flowering period:
Growing areas:
grows in almost all regions of the country, especially in habitats rich in nitrogen, cultivated fields, roadsides, barns and neglected areas.
Holy Thistle is an annual thorny weed, growing in almost all of Israel. It has erect Stem, its leaves filled with white veins and cut into dentate lobes. Its Scalp is rounded with short thorns that form a symmetrical circle (unlike Syrian thistle), the flowering color is pink.
Eating the stems and blossoms increases the appetite, stimulates the digestive system and heels liver and intestines diseases. 
Drinking a thistle decoction produced from the steam and leaves is very effective for high blood pressure, kidney stones, and constipation, urinary tract and digestive problems. Thistle seeds are excellent for liver cleansing.
For treating liver, stomach and intestines diseases
 Thistle stalks are picked at the beginning of winter, when they are still green and fresh. Scrap off its thorny leaves with a knife, cut the stalks into pieces and cook them in water for half an hour. Quantity: 200g peeled stalks in a liter of water. Strain the decoction, drink 5-4 cups a day. 
For cleaning and heeling the liver
In May-June, When its brown seeds ripening, gather them from the scalp, before they are eaten by the Goldfinch or blew up by summer breezes. Crush the seeds and boil 2 heaping tablespoons in a liter of water. Drink 2 cups per day.
Young Thistle leaves are eatable.  Tender stems are also eatable, the common way is to remove the stems upper shells, and eat them when they're wet. 
The thistle is called in Arabic " al-Jamal Horpash" which means the thorn of camel. The English name of the plant is "milk thistle" - Thistle Marianum. Long ago there was a legend about the Virgin Mary, It was told that when Herod's soldiers chased her, she hided in Thistles field, there she Breastfeed her baby and one  drop of milk fell on a leaf of thistle and marked them forever. Since then it is called "thistle of Our Lady" or in Latin: Silybum marianum. 
Pedanius Dioscorides the great Greek physician, from the first century, mentions in his writings that thistle seeds are effective for the treating snake bites, jaundice and liver disease.