Eat your Thistles. The Thistle that Loves your Liver


Yum! Artichokes

image & buy organic artichoke seeds!

The Globe artichoke goes by two botanical names. Some believe the *Cardoon and Globe artichoke are the same. See below.

Artichokes are Thistles!

Family: Asteraceae
Cynara scolymus
or Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus
Common Herbal Name: Artichoke leaf, Cynara
Plant name: Globe artichoke

Cynara cardunculus
Plant name: *Cardoon
Ancestor to modern artichoke

And the local thistle near me …. in the thistle family like the cardoon and the artichoke….

Family: Asteraceae
Cirsium neomexicanum
New Mexico thistle
Yishdloh or Azee in Navajo
Cardillo (little thistle,) Cardo in Spanish

Nickname: Lavender Thistle. Desert thistle, Powder puff thistle
USDA info on New Mexico Purple Thistle

The thistles known as Carduus by ancient healers such as Pliny, etc.

Here are picture of thistles growing wild near me.



I enjoy making local connections with plants. In this case, thistles! This New Mexican thistle was also used medicinally and for food by Navajo, Hopi and other peoples.

-as food-raw, peeled stems,
-cold infusion of plant-for an overall remedy when feeling sick,
-and cold infusion of root used as eyewash for eye diseases, irritations

Find out if local thistles in your area are edible and/or medicinal.

They might not be safe as food or medicine.

Research, ask questions, take a friend or knowledgeable person with you. You can always enjoy them as a beautiful wildflower.

Enjoy 🌱


Harvest with respect for future stands and if only a few are around, just enjoy. My local thistle makes pollinator friends very happy.

Native American Herbal and Food uses.

We owe gratitude to the peoples and traditions for centuries old plant wisdom that carries forth today.

This gratitude also extends around the globe… all the many people. As Rosemary Gladstar has pointed out, The plant world existed long before us.

This mural at the community Herb store where I work gives a heartening reminder to me.


and plants as medicine.
Hope 💚


The plant kingdom, plants and trees are our elders. Teachers. Allies. The very air we breathe comes from plants and trees.


Happy sigh here.

People working with plants as allies and healers, food medicine, foodways, wild plant foodways and herbs… family/community gardens.

And, sharing what we know and have learned through our own uses and experiences. Bringing the elders and children together.

Thankyou 💚






My local thistles… in my locale
How about you?

adventures in wild thistle eating!

I am taking an herbal preparations course and it is fun. What I love also are all the great tidbits I am learning along the way. And this particular Herbal preparation class gave me the nudge to learn more about thistles.

Here’s why..

In our section, learning to make medicinal wines…I found out that artichoke leaves… that grow around the globe of the artichoke…
are very healing and restorative to the liver. Hence the “love to the liver” part. πŸ˜€

Artichokes are thistles!


I like seeing the whole artichoke plant. I had no idea they could get so leafy and the artichokes look small in comparison.

Image source and further nutritional and medicinal information:
Plants for a Future

In class we used a sweet white wine. Cut or tear the fresh Globe artichoke leaf into small pieces and fill a jar. (not jam packed but full) Then completely cover the leaf parts with the sweet, white wine.

There, now you can have your wine and help your liver too!

Let this tincture or infusion sit for 5 days. You can shake it each day too. Remember to infuse your good energy into it!

I liked the taste of the sweet white wine and artichoke leaf.

I took a small bit of the unused leaves home and tinctured it in red wine, since I had it available and it was already open.

Here’s my medicinal wine infusing… I finished off an open bottle of red.



Re-use jars! I have protected the medicinal wine with plastic because of the metal lid.

Sidenote: On day 3, I strained and pressed out the artichoke leaf from the red Syrah. Hoo-wee! It is a healing BITTER. I vouch for a sweet white wine next time!

I really enjoyed learning about the globe artichoke leaves. I've never grown them….it points out to me, how great gardening is. To be able to see all of the plant. And, to connect more with plants and with gratitude, enjoy the food. And, to discover, pass on and guide each other on what food plants also yield medicine. As already happens in many places today. And for us newcomers and rememberers.. a resurgence and carrying forth our appreciation… of the plant world as our allies and healers.


What a healer artichokes are. Many Foods have medicinal properties too. And, many healing traditions and modern practice suggests healing with foods as a first step for health maintenance.

In Ayurveda the artichoke herb is known as Hatichu or Hattichoke.
The vegetable taste qualities are sweet and astringent.

The artichoke leaf is bitter, which stimulates liver function.
It combines well with Arjuna.
Ayurvedic information

And, it also makes a great tea. It is popular in Vietnam and is called Tra Atiso.

check it out!


An apertif, made from artichoke and other herbs, is common after meals to stimulate digestion. A popular brand is called Cynar, made in Italy.

Now more specific info about the healing properties of artichoke leaves.

excellent article and history of use

“‘How it works
“Artichoke-leaf extract improves the liver’s eliminative function,” says Amelia Hirota, D.Ac., Dipl. C.H., an acupuncturist, herbalist, and clinician at Center of Balance in East Greenwich, R.I. The acid components in the extract stimulate production of bile, (cholagogue.)

(The bile acts as) a detergentlike fluid responsible for transporting toxins out of the liver and into the intestines for excretion. Bile is also essential for the body’s breakdown of fats and cholesterol, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K.'”

Also artichoke leaf constituents and uses are as follows:

Extracts from artichoke leaves are traditionally used in the treatment of dyspeptic and hepatic disorders… also specifically: obesity, hyperlipidemia, hepatitis, diabetes, liver tonic, relieves symptoms of IBS-Irritable Bowel Syndrome, etc.

Removes heat and dampness in the liver.

Primary constituents are: chlorogenic acid, cynarin, caffeic acid and flavonoids (e.g. luteolin-7-O-glucoside) which are the main phenolic constituents of artichoke leaf extract (ALE).

artichoke leaf constituents

***Caution with Biliary Obstruction and gallstones, etc.***

Also, being a coffee and black tea enthusiast myself…. in my Herbal studies, I have learned to avoid taking herbal remedies of any kind with coffee or black tea. Because, it will inhibit the herb due to tannins.

Wait a couple hours after drinking coffee or black tea.
Or take your herbal tea or herb remedy, at least, an hour before coffee or black tea.

That way you can let the herb benefit you ☺

Above quoted source:
online magazine


And for Foragers out there and other interested folk…

The Globe artichoke originally came from a wild thistle.

Cynara cardunculus


image: Plants for a Future

Cardoons make a lovely food too! Traditionally the de-thorned stalks are used. That gives me some good ideas for preparing my local thistles like cardoons. Hmmm, it’s got me inspired and thinking!

How do I prepare my local edible thistle or cardoon?


Navaresse method of preparing Cardoons.


Cardoons can be used as a vegetable rennet. Some Portuguese and Spanish cheeses are made this way.

Also many people around the world are using plants to curdle milk to make cheese. I’ve made cottage cheese using lemons.

Check out this lively and informative, how-to blog, on how to use dried cardoon thistle stamens (the purple part) to make yummy cheese!

More fun for vegetarian cheese makers!

Here are some recipes that may inspire you and have fun with!

Khorchouf…Moroccan style Cardoons!

And baked Cardoons, thistle stalks too!

baked Cardoons!

Thankyou Thistles!







Me in thistle bliss


About wildlettucegal

certified plant lover πŸ˜€

Posted on May 10, 2015, in Forage, Forage and Wildcraft, healing herb, Herbal apothecary, Herbal Preparations, New Mexico Wildcrafting, recipes and foodways, southwest, wild edibles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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