Herb: Stemless Carline Thistle

Latin name: Carlina acaulis

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Stemless Carline Thistle:

Stemless carline thistle is seldom used in modern herbalism. The plant was at one time in great demand as an aphrodisiac, it is occasionally used nowadays in the treatment of spasms of the digestive tract, gall bladder and liver disorders, dropsy, urine retention etc. The root has also been used in treating a range of skin complaints such as acne and eczema. A decoction of the root can be used externally to cleanse wounds or as an antiseptic gargle. Some caution should be employed since in large doses the root is purgative and emetic. The root is antibiotic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, mildly diuretic, emetic in large doses, febrifuge and purgative in large doses. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


15 cm
(6 inches)


Habitat of the herb:

Poor soils in dry sandy pastures and on rocky slopes, especially on limestone.

Edible parts of Stemless Carline Thistle:

Flowering head - cooked. Used as a globe artichoke substitute, though they are considerably smaller and even more fiddly. The fleshy centre of the plant is edible. Does this refer to the peeled stem?. Root. No more details are given.

Other uses of the herb:

The dried flowers respond to the amount of humidity in the air and can be used as hygrometers. Flowers on the growing plant close at the approach of rain.

Propagation of Stemless Carline Thistle:

Seed - surface sow in a cold frame in the spring. The seed usually germinates in 4 - 8 weeks at 15C. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Poor soils in dry sandy pastures and on rocky slopes, especially on limestone.

Known hazards of Carlina acaulis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.