Cardosanto is an officinal herb native to Europe, and widespread in cultivation since the Middle Ages.
The young leaves are consumed in salads, despite their bitter taste; the flowers still in bud are used as artichokes, then boiled and consumed in salads.
The medicinal properties of this herb are varied; in ancient times it was used to alleviate multiple symptoms, even it is said that the infusion of blessed thistle saved from the contagion of the plague.
Today in herbal medicine the leaves, harvested in summer, are dried and used to produce hot and cold infusions. The hot infusion is used as a tonic, often mixing Cardosanto with other medicinal herbs.
The cold infusion, prepared leaving the leaves in infusion for at least 12 hours, is used as a purifier.
Cardosanto has diuretic, stimulating and tonic properties; the consumption of large quantities of the plant's infusion can cause vomiting.
The hot infusion, after being cooled, is used to wash ulcers and wounds, to promote healing.
Cardosanto is also used in homeopathy, to treat liver disorders.