Top 5 Golden Thistle Uses

The golden thistle is a common weed found in grazing land and other neglected areas. It grows in disturbed or cultivated soils and pastures, harming nearby plants.

It is commonly used to remedy toothaches, and its leaves and roots are chewed for toothache. However, its apprehensive nature makes it a poor choice for a lawn.

Its aerial growth tumbles hundreds of meters, dispersing seeds that can be caught in wool or other agricultural produce. This plant’s large tap-root produces new aerial growth every autumn.

It prefers warm, dry climates, and it grows on sandy gravels. It can be used to clean areas in fields and to control erosion. Its seed is 70% viable. This means that a golden thistle can be beneficial for your garden.

Golden Thistle


Common golden thistle is a flowering plant native to southern England and Wales. Its leaves are spiny and have several uses. 

It is botanically known as Scolymus hispanicus, a perennial herb belonging to the Asteraceae family.

Plant description

It is a tall shrub, reaching three to four feet in height. It is spiny on its stem and has narrow leaves and numerous lobes. It has milky sap, which is astringent and reduces mucous secretions.

Despite its common name, several other thistles can be substituted for golden thistles. The most common medicinal use of the herb is as a natural deodorant.


A golden thistle has white or gold flowers 2.5-4 cm in diameter and forms short stalks. The flowers are hermaphrodites and are pollinated by insects.

The seeds from these flowers can be caught in wool and other agricultural products. They can reduce the carrying capacity of a field.


The fruits are small, green, and round and are 2-3 mm in diameter. The seeds are yellow with a membranous margin. The seeds are also edible.

Its seeds are usually sown in the spring, but they can also be sown in fall in sheltered areas. The resulting plants will have a green herb throughout the year.


The leaves and stems of the plant are spiny, and the plant can grow to two feet. The flowers and stems are green and pointy, and the leaves are spiny and prickly.

The leaves are edible, and the leaves and bracts of this plant are edible. These plants are found in wastelands in England but are not native to the United States.


  • Its leaves are edible and contain high levels of vitamin A and C.
  • Besides being a valuable source of nutrients, thistle is also a source of antioxidants.
  • The Spanish thistle, also known as golden thistle, has improved LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Traditional uses of golden thistle

The golden thistle is a popular plant with many medicinal benefits. Its benefits are numerous, and this herb is also suitable for heart health. Here we will discuss a few of these uses.

Used as an herbal remedy

Thistle is an effective herbal remedy for liver problems. It is a natural detoxifying herb and may help improve liver function.

The leaves are used as a medicine and herb to support the liver.

Used as tea

The leaves are used to make tea and are also used for cooking. The flowers and stems are also harvested for the leaves.

The roots are the most essential part of the plant, and they are eaten raw. Its seeds have many medicinal uses.

Used to promote a healthy lifestyle

It is used to fight disease and promote a healthy lifestyle. The plant is an effective remedy for arthritis, reducing blood sugar, and improving digestive health.

Food source for animals

Golden thistle is a plant used for seeds, leaves, and flowers. It is considered a valuable food source for donkeys, goats, and sheep. Its ripe stems and leaves are highly prized by these animals.

Culinary uses

In traditional medicine, the plant known as golden thistle is used to prepare various foods. Its culinary uses are still largely unknown. However, here are some of the culinary benefits of the golden thistle.

  • The flowers are commonly eaten as a side dish, especially with cured ham.
  • The plant’s flowers are also used in cooking, including as an alternative to saffron and coffee. 
  • For centuries, the plants’ milky sap was chewed to alleviate toothaches.
  • The flowers are used in tea to treat digestive problems, while the stalks are eaten raw or boiled.
  • In addition to being a vegetable, the golden thistle can be a valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • The fruit of the plant is a valuable addition to salads.
  • It is a healthy option for those who want to avoid high-calorie foods.
  • It is also used to make wine.
  • Its flowers are edible and have been used for digestive ailments.  
  • In the Mediterranean, the plant is used as a vegetable in soups. 

Health benefits of golden thistle

This herb is a must-have for any garden or herb collection. But how is it beneficial for us?

Despite its legal status as a weed in many parts of the world, it has many benefits. It has a long list of medicinal uses.

  • It is often used to treat various ailments, including diarrhea and stomach disorders. 
  • It also promotes glutathione production, which fights oxidative stress and other health conditions.
  • It is an effective remedy for fever, and it is an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants. 
  • It also helps improve blood sugar levels. 
  • It has been a popular herb for a long time, and it is a great way to reduce cholesterol. 

Negative impact on crops

This herb is a common weed in orchards and vineyards. Despite its negative impact on crops, it does not seem to decrease the quality of the harvest.

It does affect the growth of more desirable forage species, but it does not appear harmful to the crops.

My Final Thoughts

Greek physicians, including Dioscorides, have documented its traditional uses and recommended drinking thistle seeds tea to treat snakebite.

A sixteenth-century English herbalist, John Gerard, believed that thistle was the best remedy for melancholy diseases (liver disease), which derives from Greek roots.

Its medicinal benefits have been documented, and it has long been used as a dietary supplement. Some ancient civilizations used this plant to treat disease, and its edible stalks are used as traditional food.

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