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a monotypic genus of plants of the family Compositae. Blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus) is an annual, branching, glandular-pubescent herb, with grayish green sinuate-pinnatipartite leaves and heads of yellowish flowers. Blessed thistle grows in dry areas, wastelands, and sown fields, as well as along roads. It is found in the Mediterranean Region and Southwest Asia. In the USSR it grows in the Caucasus and Middle Asia; it is occasionally cultivated in gardens south of the European USSR, where it sometimes grows wild. Preparations from this plant are used in human and veterinary medicine as bitters to improve appetite and digestion. The blossoming parts of the stem and the leaves are used in the manufacture of liqueurs.
REFERENCESAtlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
Priano-aromaticheskie rasteniia SSSR i ikh ispol’zovanie v pishchevoi promyshlennosti. Moscow, 1963.