The Witch’s Cupboard

Herbs For A Merry Yule!

Blessed Thistle


Common names:

St. Benedict Thistle

Botanical names:

Cnicus benedictus

Parts Used & Where Grown

Although native to Europe and Asia, blessed thistle is now cultivated in many areas of the world, including the United States. The leaves, stems, and flowers are all used in herbal preparations.

How It Works

The sesquiterpene lactones, such as cnicin, provide the main beneficial effects of blessed thistle in the treatment of indigestion. The bitterness of these compounds stimulates digestive activity, including the flow of saliva and secretion of gastric juice, which leads to improved appetite and digestion.4 Some pharmacological evidence suggests that blessed thistle may also have anti-inflammatory properties.5

How to Use It

The German Commission E monograph recommends 4–6 grams of blessed thistle per day.6 Alternatively, tincture (1/2 teaspoon [2 ml] three times per day) may be used. Approximately 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) of the dried herb can also be added to 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water and steeped 10 to 15 minutes to make a tea. Three cups can be drunk each day.


At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement. Anyone with allergies to plants in the daisy family should use blessed thistle cautiously.

Horned God Incense Recipe


7 drams tincture Benzoin
1/2 dram Sandalwood oil
1/2 dram myrrh oil
1/2 dram frankincense oil
1 oz pwd Charcoal
pinch of dried asafoetida
pinch of dried blessed thistle
pinch of dried peppermint



herbal and Magickal Properties

Holly leaves are utilized to offset a variety of health disorders. One common ailment they are used to remedy is hypertension, which is also referred to as high blood pressure. The leaves can have a calming effect, and they have been known to facilitate better arterial function and blood circulation in some individuals.

Other ailments that the leaves are used to treat include fever, rheumatism and digestive issues. Some species are utilized for their emetic properties, and others are employed to assist with symptoms such as joint pain and swelling. Holly leaf extract is sometimes used to combat jaundice, dizziness and emotional problems. In some cases, holly is even utilized as a method of fighting heart disease.

While it is true that holly is widely utilized for its aesthetic qualities, it is also valued for its medicinal properties. When they are used properly, holly leaves may offer people an alternative to modern medical treatments. In other cases, the leaves may be implemented to enhance medical treatments that are currently in use. The plant has been employed for centuries as an herbal remedy, and it is likely that people will continue to use it in such a capacity.

Magickal Properties

A tree of protection holly signifies courage, wisdom and immortality. It is used in dream magic and as a protection against harm. It is believed that if a man carries a talisman pouch containing both leaves and berries his masculinity will be heightened. Used as Yuletide decorations and burned at Imbolc and in the need-fires of Beltaine. Represents the Holly King or the turning of the year at the Solstices.
correspondences: Masculine, Hot, Fire, Mars. Sacred to Lugh and to Habondia, the goddess of plenty.

Holly Lore and Craft

A Druid sacred tree. Sacred to the Winter Solstice, when it is used for decorating.  Berries are poisonous. Holly, with its warrior-like bristles, is known as an herb of protection. Cast it about to repel unwanted animals and spirits. Sprinkle newborn babies with “holly water” (water in which holly has been soaked, especially if left under a full moon overnight) to keep them happy and safe. Holly is one of the evergreens brought into the home by Druids. It symbolizes a willingness to allow the nature spirits to share one’s abode during the harsh, cold season. Planted near a house, holly repels negative spells sent against you. A bag of leaves and berries carried by a man increases his ability to attract women. Carry to promote good luck. Energy, Power, Strength, Protection. After midnight on a Friday, without making a sound, gather nine holly leaves, preferably from a non-spiny plant. Wrap these up in a white cloth using nine knots the tie the ends together. Place this beneath your pillow, and your dreams will come true. The traditional crowns for the bride and groom are made of holly (a male plant) and ivy (a female plant), wreaths and altar decoration are made of these as well. Also Called: Bat’s Wings.

Credit to Patti Wigington About.Com for the Holly Craft