Sow thistle and appetite.

Botanical name: 

Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 22:44:03 +0200
To: Herb
Subject: [herb] Was calamus, now appetite

I've found that sow thistle is a wonderful stimulator of appetite. Even my budgies show increased appetite when I put a few stalks in their cages. I cook it in soup, adding it only the last 15 minutes of cooking, when one of the family is getting over a bout of illness and needs a little building up. It's a pleasure to watch their eyes brighten at the sight of food where before the reaction might have been, "I don't feel like eating, take it away!"

From: "jim mcdonald"

wow, really cool... Do you think that effect is attributable to the bitterness (bitterness stimulates gastric secretions stimulates appetite), or something else? I haven't used sow thistle, but it grows all over and is readily favorite kind of plant to learn about.

I learned something really interesting about it once, but I forgot what, though I do know I read it at the MSU Botanical Gardens, and will try to find out again and pass it on to you.

From: "jim mcdonald"

Ah! remembered what that little plaque at the botanical garden said about Sow Thistle: "used to treat Opium addiction" (oh, the irony...). Shame they don't include references, eh?


OK, guys, I confess... I use sow thistle in a very Yiddishe Mamma way. Once having read somewhere that it increases appetite, I started using it for that purpose, and all I can say is that it works (at least for my family).

But I did a little research in order to appear more educated, so here are a few worthwhile links, followed by Culpepper's comments. Sow thistle is a real roadside weed, growing in empty lots anywhere, I'd venture to say, that has a cold winter. I find it in abundance here in Israel, for example, but wouldn't look for it in a tropical country.

I would venture that as a bitter herb, it supports the liver and as we know, any liver lover will be good for digestion (and desire to eat) too.


SOW-THISTLES (Culpepper).

These are generally so well known that they need no Description.

They grow in our Gardens and manured Grounds, and somtimes by old Walls, the path sides of Fields and High-waies.

Vertues and Use.
Sow-thistles are cooling and somwhat binding, and are very fit to cool an hot Stomach, and to ease the gnawing pains thereof; The Herb boyled in Wine is very helpful to stay the dissolutions of the Stomach: And the Milk that is taken from the Stalks when they are broken, given in drink, is beneficial to those that are short Winded and have a wheesing withal: Pliny saith that it hath caused the Gravel and Stone to be voided by Urine, and that the eating thereof helpeth a stinking breath: Three spoonfuls of the Juyce thereof taken in white Wine warmed, and some Oyl put thereto causeth Women in Travel to have so easie and speedy delivery, that they may be able to walk presently after: The said Juyce taken in warm drink, helpeth the Strangury and pains in making water.

The Decoction of the Leaves and Stalks, causeth abundance of Milk in Nurses, and their Children to be well coloured, and is good for those whose Milk doth curdle in their Breasts. The Juyce boyled or throughly heated with a little Oyl of Bitter Almonds in the Pill of a Pomegranate, and dropped into the Ears, is a sure Remedy for Deafness, singings, and all other Diseases in them. The Herb bruised or the Juyce is profitably applied to all hot Inflamations in the Eyes, or wheresoever else, and for Wheals, Blisters, or other the like eruptions of heat in the Skin; as also for the heat and itching of the Hemorrhoids, and the heat and sharpness of Humors in the Secret parts of man or Woman: The distilled water of the Herb, is not only effectual for all the Diseases aforesaid to be taken inwardly with a little Sugar(which Medicine the daintiest Stomach will not refuse) but outwardly, by applying Cloathes or Spunges wetted therein: It is wonderful good for Women to wash their Faces therewith, to cleer the Skin, and give a lustre thereto.

From: "Michelle Morton-niyama"

Sow Thistle kind of looks like a tall dandelion - I used to have them in my garden in Humboldt County Ca.. They are great for the garden, too, as they attract cute little finches and they are "deep diggers" and pull nutrients from the depths. They are great for the compost pile, too. Just by looking at them, I would think they are similar to Dandelion in action...I have eaten them as well. Michelle