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Benedictswort: the discovery

Benedictswort (Cnicus benedictus), also known as Benedict’s thistle, is a plant that is originally native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. Its healing properties were first discovered in the Middle Ages by monks, who named it after St. Benedict because of its supposedly miraculous healing powers. At that time, it was considered a panacea and was used to treat a wide variety of illnesses.

Dosage forms and dosage

Benedictswort can be taken in various ways. The most common are tea, tincture and capsules.


To make Benedictswort tea, pour 250 milliliters of hot water over about one teaspoon of dried herb and leave to infuse for about ten minutes. It is recommended to drink a cup of tea three times a day.


Benedictswort tincture, which is made from an alcoholic extract of the plant, is usually taken three times a day, 20 to 30 drops diluted in a glass of water.


Benedictswort capsules are also a convenient dosage form. The recommended dose is usually one to two capsules a day, depending on the concentration of the active ingredient.

Diseases that can be alleviated by Benedictswort

It is traditionally used for a variety of ailments. The most important areas of application are

Digestive problems

It is known for its digestive properties. It stimulates the production of stomach acid and bile and can therefore help with indigestion, flatulence and loss of appetite.

Liver diseases

The bitter substances it contains support liver function and can have a soothing effect on liver complaints and biliary colic.

Infections and inflammations

Due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, Benedictswort is used for infections and inflammations of the skin and mucous membranes. It can help with wounds, eczema and sore throats.

Women’s ailments

The herb is also used in gynecology, e.g. to relieve menstrual cramps and to help with menopausal symptoms.

Effect on the body

The healing effect of Benedictswort is mainly attributed to its bitter substances, flavonoids and essential oils. These ingredients have the following effects:

  • Digestive: bitter substances stimulate the production of digestive juices, improve food utilization and alleviate gastrointestinal complaints.
  • Liver-supporting: Flavonoids promote the regeneration of liver cells and improve the liver’s detoxification function.
  • Antimicrobial: The essential oils have a germicidal effect, which is helpful in fighting infections.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Flavonoids and other ingredients in Benedictswort can reduce inflammation in the body.

When is Benedictswort taken?

It should primarily be taken for digestive complaints or to support liver health. It can also be useful for recurring infections or inflammatory skin conditions.

Restrictions and contraindications

Not everyone should take Benedictswort. The following groups of people should refrain from taking it or consult a doctor beforehand:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: As there are insufficient studies on its safety, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised not to take it.
  • People with stomach ulcers: The bitter ingredients can aggravate the symptoms of stomach ulcers.
  • Allergy sufferers: People who are allergic to composite plants (such as camomile or arnica) should avoid Benedictswort.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

Benedictswort can be combined well with other medicinal plants and food supplements to enhance its healing effect:

  • Milk thistle: also promotes liver health and complements the properties of Benedictswort well.
  • Artichoke: Promotes digestion and liver function.
  • Probiotics: Help to keep the intestinal flora in balance, which is especially important for digestive problems.

Foods with a high Benedictswort content

As it is not used as a food but as a medicinal plant, it is not found in normal foods. It is usually available as a dried herb, tea, tincture or capsule.

Benedictswort: side effects and overdose

Side effects such as stomach discomfort, nausea and diarrhea can occur when taking Benedictswort, especially at high doses. In rare cases, allergic reactions may also occur.


An overdose can lead to severe gastrointestinal complaints and should therefore be avoided. It is important to adhere to the recommended dosage and to consult a doctor if in doubt.

Benedictswort in naturopathy

It is used in phytotherapy and in Traditional European Medicine (TEM) as a natural remedy. It is used as a bitter tonic to promote digestion and support the liver. In TEM, it is often used in tea blends and tinctures to make the most of its healing properties.


Benedictswort is a versatile medicinal plant with a long history in traditional medicine. It can have a soothing effect on various health complaints, particularly digestive problems, liver disease and inflammation. Despite its many positive properties, it should be taken with caution and in the recommended dosage. In case of doubt or special health conditions, it is advisable to consult a doctor or alternative practitioner to rule out possible risks and ensure optimal use.

Published on: 27. June 2024


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