Carduus nutans – Musk Thistle
Generally considered a noxious weed in the US, the Musk Thistle also has the reported health benefit of cleansing the liver. This native to Africa is actually a very beautiful flower, but has a hearty defense system against grazing animals and unprotected gardeners. If you wish to handle this plant, put on some really, really heavy gloves!
Thistles tend to all be clumped into the ‘pestilence’ category by farmers. They love to grow in pastures and agricultural fields, giving grain and livestock farmers a tough time. Because of this, tons of herbicides are dumped on fields every year to eradicate these plants.
Although I haven’t tried this myself ( I value my fingers too much, and haven’t gotten up the nerve) the Musk thistle seeds can be harvested and consumed as a liver detoxing agent. The stems are also reported as edible. Harvest when young and ‘succulent’ (I have a hard time imaging this, but I am trying to be open minded), then peel the outer surface of the stalk. Maybe it would be good in a smoothie?
Here’s a video I found on You tube showing how to harvest the seeds:
Have you ever eaten the stalks or seeds of the Musk thistle? I’d love to hear about your experience.
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