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Cnicus Benedictus

Updated on April 13, 2011

The holy thistle (Centaurea Benedicta (L.) L., 1763) is an herbaceous, annual, belonging to the Asteraceae family.It is a herbal plant

Distribution and habitat

 Originating in the countries of the Mediterranean basin; common in Italy especially in the plains, particularly in the Tyrrhenian zones. Prefers deep soil, loose and fertile.


20-40 cm high, under favorable conditions can reach one meter, root and fistulous slender, angular stems and branches reddish-gray, all pubescent, with hairs more or less long and thick, almost woolly. The caul is erect and branches longer than the main stem, often reduced to a head.


The lower leaves are short stalked, large and pennatofite, lobe triangular, toothed, lobes and teeth ending in a plug. The Stem to 10 cm are long, wide half, sessile, a little 'flowing on the stem, sinuate-toothed, spiky, slightly leathery, with white veins anastomosed. The latest at the top are 3-5 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, and wrap the head around a solitary point, 3 cm long, broad at the base a little 'less than 2 cm. The periclinio with numerous bracts, similar to the external Stem leaves oval, green and lanceolate, the median up to half an inch wide and terminating in an appendix prickly, quick and easy, others are closer and have a long and thorny Appendix pennata , reddish, straight out. All are glabrous and green on the outside, white on the bright side, instead of the plug are inserted long hairs that wrap around the head.


Flowers are the tubules, with corolla yellow with purple veins, the outside is sterile and thin with a corolla, the interior hermaphrodites. Stamens with filaments papillose, and ending in a long appendix anthers obtuse, with two simple auricles at the base. Short stigma surrounded by a wreath at the base of teeth.


The fruit is a cylindrical achene, almost an inch long and 3 mm wide, brown, shiny and thick with longitudinal grooves, cut obliquely at the base, hilum side. The pappus is in three distinct series, the outer half of 10 teeth mm long, curved inward, the second of 10 long hairs, slightly more than 1 cm, the inner bristles 10 mm long and 2 cream.


The seeds are less than half a millimeter long and thin.


It contains bitter glucosides such cnicina, ethereal oils, sugar, mucilage, tannin substances, resinous and rubbery, without the presence of abundant ash salli potassium, calcium and magnesium.


It is used in herbal medicine, the dried whole plant (minus the biggest and the stem) and flowers, has properties bitter tonic, stimulating, emagoghe, diuretic, diaforetitiche, the overdose causes tracheo-esophageal burns, vomiting and stomach cramps from accompagnatte diarrhea. It 'not recommended for those suffering from hyperchlorhydria or kidney damage. It is also used in liqueurs.


 At one time also grown, with sowing in April to file with the sixth of 60-70 cm x 30 cm. The plants were cut in early bloom in summer, with the possibility of a second mowing in autumn.


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