(From to abrade; so named from its roughness, which abrades and tears whatever it meets with). The thistle. The general characters of which are as follow: the leaves are set alternately on the branches, and are prickly; the heads are mostly squamous and prickly; prickles are on most or all parts of the plant, and they are mostly lactescent.
Carduus benedictus. See Benedictus. The blessed or holy thistle; also called cnicus sylvestris. It is the centaurea benedicta Lin. Sp. Pi. 1296. Nat. ord. Composito capitatae. Cynarocephali of Jus-sieu. It is a native of Spain and some of the Archipelago islands, and is annually sown with us in gardens.
The leaves have a penetrating bitter taste, not very strong or durable in the mouth; when fresh they are more pleasant than when dry. The plant should be hung up loosely in an airy place after it is well dried; for, if pressed close, it rots. The best time for gathering it is when in flower.
This plant obtained the name benedictus from its being supposed to possess extraordinary medical virtues; but it is not found to excel several other of the simple bitters; though Bergius considers it as antacid, corroborant, stomachic, sudorific, diuretic, and ecco-protic. See Amara.
Camomile flowers are now generally substituted for the carduus benedictus, and are thought to be of at least equal value.
When this herb is used to excite vomiting, a decoction of it in water is preferable, for thus its more nauseous parts are extracted: cold water, in an hour or two, imbibes a light grateful bitter; but if the infusion be continued much longer, the nauseous part is also taken up. Rectified spirit extracts only the agreeable bitter, and, though heated, it does not easily take up the offensive parts.
A light, cold, watery infusion, with fresh lemon or orange peel, improves the appetite, and is useful when the digestive powers are weak: it sits easy on the stomach, and no bitter is less heating. Dr. Cullen thinks this plant a simple and pure, though not a very strong, bitter; and that, therefore, it possesses none of the extraordinary virtues ascribed to it. An ounce of the dried leaves may be infused two hours in a pint of cold soft water, and it may be flavoured at pleasure with any aromatic. It may be made stronger by returning the liquor on fresh parcels of the leaves or tops. It affords nothing valuable by distillation. See Lewis's Mat. Med. Miller's Bot. Off. Dale.
Carduus haemorrhoidalis. So called because it relieves the pains of the haemorrhoids, if beat into a poultice and applied; also called carduus vinearum re-fiens, sonchi folio, cirsium arvense, ceanothos; serra-tulu arvensis Lin. Sp. Pi. 1149. The common creeping way thistle.
Its roots are whitish, but now and then are of a darker hue, and have a strong smell: it sends forth fibres that creep on the ground, and propagates itself to a great distance: it is common in tillage ground and highways, flowering in July and August.
Carduus lacteus, also called carduus Marie, carduus Marianus Lin. Sp. Pi. 1153. carduus albis ma-culis notatus vulgaris, C. b. Common milk thistle, or lady's thistle. It is distinguished from all other thistles in England, by having its leaves cut in several laciniae, full of hard sharp prickles, having all the upper part spotted with long and broad white spots. It grows on banks, and flowers in June. The leaves and seeds have similar virtues to those of the carduus benedictus, but in an inferior degree. It is said to be efficacious against pungent pains. Miller's Bot. Off".
Carduus lacteus Syriacus, Lin. Sp. Pi. 1153. also called carduus albis maculis notatus exoticus. Be-deguar Arabum Rauwolfii, cnicus albis maculis notatus. The Spanish milk thistle.
This and the next species are perennial, have long, narrow, deeply jagged leaves, that are prickly and laying on the ground; in the middle of the plant grows a large roundish head, without any stalk, encompassed with smaller leaves, which may be eat like an artichoke; the flowers issue from the middle of the head.
Carduus pinea theophrasti; carlina aulos gum-mifra, chaemaleon albus Dioscoridis, and pine thistle; atractylis gummifera Lin. Sp. Pi. 1161. Its flowers are composed of purplish flosculi, like those of the common thistle. It is a native of Italy and of Candy. Its roots are larger than those of the carline thistle, and smell stronger; if wounded when fresh they yield a viscous milky juice, which concretes into tenacious masses, at first whitish, and resembling wax, when much handled, growing black; supposed to be the ixion, ixia, and acanthina mastiche of the ancients; the people of
Apulia gather this gum, and name it cera di cardo. It was formerly chewed for the same purposes as the mastich gum: the root hath the same virtues as the carline thistle roots.
Carduus Spinosissimus sphaerocephalus rigidis acu-ieis armata; c. b. cardui Arabici, Park. Theat. spina Arabica offic. Arabian thistle. Carduus nutans Lin. Sp. Pi. 1150. It seems to have qualities similar to those of the spina alba.
Carduus acanthus. See Acanthus.
Carduus humilis gummifera. See Carduus pinea.
Carduus luteus. See Atractylis.
Carduus solstitialis. See Calcitrapa officin.
Carduus sativus. See Carthamus.
Carduus stellatus. See Calcitrapa.
Carduus stellatus luteus. See Calcitrapa officin.
Carduus esculentus; spinosissimus elatior. See Cinara spinosa.