The Edible, Medicinal Thistle

Episode 24: Thistles! To many of us, they are those annoying, prickly plants that “bite.” Classified as a noxious weed in many areas, thistles are the topic of this podcast with Thistle admirer Katrina Blair, author of the book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival.

What does Katrina do for Thistle weed control? She eats them!  

In this episode Katrina talks about the many uses of this weedy plant. Thistles regenerate liver cells, are full of minerals, and their leaves make an alkaline drink.  You can make flour out of thistle seeds, chew the flowers and white fluff as a gum, and use large amounts of fermented thistles as a substrate for growing oyster mushrooms.

Other edible parts of Thistles include the root which Katrina makes into a Chai Tea or eats like a potato and the stalk which is sweeter than celery. Katrina’s favorite Thistle variety is the Musk Thistle: Carduus nutans.

To learn more about Katrina’s work, visit her website: Turtle Lake Refuge.org. To hear a longer interview with forager, chef, writer, and plant lover Katrina Blair on Sustainable World Radio, click here. 

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