7 Ways To Prepare Thistle – Katrina Blair









Great Big Ideas & Takeaways:

  • Preparing thistle greens for an ENERGIZING, deeply nutritious juice.
  • How to use thistle root for chai tea.
  • The alkaline health benefits of thistle.
  • How to harvest & eat thistle stalk like celery (a delicacy)!
  • Yum… a delicious thistle chocolate truffle recipe.
  • Easy-to-make thistle chewing gum—it even cleans your teeth.
  • Use thistle seeds (packed with nutrition) to make milk and bread.
  • How to grow mushrooms on thistle stalks.
  • Most popular drink at the local market—a thistle root chai tea recipe.

About The Author:

Katrina Blair is the founder of Turtle Lake Refuge in 1998, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate the connections between personal health and wild lands.

She has taught sustainable living practices through John F. Kennedy University, San Juan College in Farmington, NM, and Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. She teaches internationally at retreats, festivals, and educational and healing events.

She is also the author of “The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival.”   As well as “Local Wild Life: Turtle Lake Refuge’s Recipes for Living Deep.”


QUESTION: What’s your favorite takeaway from Katrina’s presentation?


  1. Sharon Morton

    Love the recipes and cant wait to try the green juice recipe. We have tons of thistle and have been hand pulling from my garden. This was a huge informative and change for us. I will leave them in the ground to harvest

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      I really enjoyed making the thistle lemonaide

  2. Mike Eaton

    Sounds like a religious tract rather than a lecture on the edible uses of the thistle – May be it is!! Thank you, I shall never look at a thistle in the same way again! Interesting note: It is the Flower of Scotland!

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      Hi Mike, the flower of Scotland? Thanks for that.

      1. Richard

        Indeed it is the national flower of Scotland. We wear one in our breast pocket when wearing a kilt at weddings and so forth. If I’d only known earlier that I could eat the flower in my pocket to keep me going during a long wedding day, I might have had one less whisky. Next time.

    2. Thistle

      A little too religious, reminds me of the crazy vegan PETA people that destroyed Shamu Sea World.

  3. Katy

    At last, something positive to do with thistle! Especially fascinated with using it for oyster mushroom production. I love growing mushrooms!

  4. Pam

    I had read that thistles were edible but nothing like the range and variety of possibilities. Are all thistles edible? I have an abundance of them, both Canada (I think, don’t know how to tell the difference between Canada and Scotch thistle or even if it makes a difference) and sow thistle.

    It would be fantastic to be able to harvest and use them productively. There is so much stuff on the internet, and often one person says something and then others pick it up but there’s no way to know if the first person had a clue about what he is talking about. So it is hard sometimes to have confidence when reading somewhere that such and such is edible, I have no difficulty having confidence in this information.

    It would help justify not spraying them as neighbors are pressuring to have happen. Presently I am just pulling them out to keep the peace and the idea of sharing some thistle truffles just seems like such a wonderful, delightful idea.


    1. im

      I also would like to know if all thistle is edible. I have 2 different kinds of thistle, one the locals call bull thistle and another type but am not sure what the names are. I would love to harvest at least the roots before the ground freezes.

    2. Sandy

      Sam Thayer, a well-known forager in Wisconsin and Minnesota who has foraged and taught all over the North American continent, and loves thistles, too. His first foraging guide, “The Forager’s Harvest” has a hefty section on locating, identifying and efficiently handling 9 thistle varieties, most of them common in large regions of N. America. His second foraging book, Nature’s Garden, lists thistle of a different species, the Sow thistle. Sam has foraged and eaten stalks from marsh, bull, Canada, tall, pasture and nodding thistle and enjoyed them all. He has recently opened a store in Bruce WI where he sells products he has foraged, accessories and books. Details on that and many of his favorite forage plants are available on his website, foragersharvest.com.

    3. Katrina Blair

      Hi Pam,
      In my experience, I have enjoyed all the thistles I have tried. And in my knowledge most all thistles are edible. However, it is wise to taste it to make sure it is agreeable to you before you make a recipe with it. Thanks! Katrina

  5. Paula

    Thank you for this hans on information. I was wondering if the cashews get ground up for the Truffles? We have a thistle with little yellow flowers and I was wondering if I could use that in the recipes? And we have teasel which looks like a thistle. Could I use those leaves in the blender drink? Or dry the roots?

    1. Katrina Blair

      Hi Paula,
      Yes, the cashews do get ground fine for making the chocolate truffles. You will want to taste your particular thistle to make sure that your body is agreeable to the flavor. But my guess is that it is just fine to use the yellow flowered thistle in the recipes. It may be a sow thistle. Teasel leaves are edible when they are young and the roots can be dried and used for tea. Good luck!

      1. Sharon Porter

        Cant wait to try this Katrina!

  6. Jean

    how do you know a prickly plant is actually a thistle? I’m wondering about Texas white prickly poppy (the juice is orange), eryngo, silybum, Russian thistle.

    1. Katrina Blair

      Prickly poppy is not a plant that I think of as edible. Russian thistle, however is edible when young and tender. It dries into the tumble weed and then the dried stalks can be ground into a flour. Blessings!

  7. Dave

    Very informative

  8. Rochelle

    Excellent presentation! Thank you.

  9. Clairemarie

    Thank you Katrina Blair for so generously sharing your experience. I have been cultivating wild thistle for years now ans have been using a manual wheat grass juicer to extract the powerful dark green juice of this amazing plant. I have not worked with the roots as of yet, so I really appreciate your ideas on how to utilize this unique plant in other ways. Bless you!

  10. Lyd

    Thank you Katrina for a very inspiring and informative talk. I just had a 1st small attack of arthritis and will try your suggestion to drink green juices including thistle and other wild weeds. I’ve studied weed herbalism before but keep forgetting to use them, and I did not know about thistles. I did grow Milk Thistle once because a friend cured herself of liver chirosis with Silymarin. Maybe she could have used the whole plant for a lot less money. I was discouraged to grow it again because of it’s reputation for being invasive. Can we use those seeds the same way? How about Cardoon seeds? You and your work are a blessing to mankind.

    1. Lyd

      Well, my question about Milk Thistle seeds was answered by Doug Simmons’ talk. i would still like to know if Cardoon seeds can be used the same way as thistle seeds. Your information is rare, practical and very much appreciated.

    2. Katrina Blair

      Hi Lyd,
      Yes you can use milk thistle the same way. And the cardoon seeds are edible too! Thank you and many blessings to you too!

  11. Devan

    Is Bull Thistle edible and good to use for these recipes?

    1. Katrina Blair

      Yes, bull thistle is edible too. Taste it before making recipes and make sure it feels right to your body. Good luck!

  12. Deb E

    I very much enjoyed the presentation. I used to live in Colorado and it is a lovely place to be.

  13. Cindy

    Delighted to know about this. But like others, I am curious if there are other species of thistle (particularly the prickly poppy that grows in my yard) is the same or close enough to the thistle she uses here. I wish I had known about her class in central texas when she was here!

    1. Katrina Blair

      All the thistles can be used the same way in general, although I do recommend tasting each one to make sure it is agreeable to you. Prickly poppy is not a thistle and I don’t use it the same way. Good luck!

  14. Kerstin

    Thanks to Katrina for sharing so much of her knowledge. I love the deep connection with plants and nature that comes across through every word.
    Last season I felt I did not just want to eradicate thistles in my garden but I could not find any useful information what to do with them! Now I know 🙂 This has been better than gold for me, an amazing presentation.

  15. Birgitte

    Since there are almonds in the thistle seed milk recipe, can I dry out the pulp and use where I would use almond flour?

    1. Katrina Blair

      Hi Birgitte,
      Yes you can dry the pulp and use for almond flour. Great idea! Blessings, Katrina

  16. Shira Nahari

    I wish I could give this one a 10! Katrina is a holy soul and SO inspiring! I lived in Israel 33 years and wish I had known then what she has taught now about how to use thistles! Now I need to make up for the lost time–the hunt for thistles is on!

  17. Dawn Rae

    How exciting! I let a portion of my land grow up to “weed” for the birds and deer. No sense of mowing it until I move up there. And I loved all of the thistle that grew up. I think it is beautiful. Now I know all of the other things I can do with my plentiful thistle! thank you.

  18. Stefanie

    I watched a couple of presentations an hour ago without problem, but now the pages load without the videos. The chat is all there as you can see. What happenned ?

    1. Jimerson (Post author)

      Hi Stefanie! Would you try clearing your browser cache or trying an alternate browser (like Chrome) and seeing if that works better? Thank you!

  19. Stefanie

    I’m using Chrome, I cleaned the cache – still nothing. The video window simply isn’t there.
    We have so many kinds of thistle growing all around us here in Portugal; I would love to watch this…

  20. Jon

    I learned a lot but I also learned one big thing.

    I dont know thistle!

    I always knew great solutions were always around us. We even joked about that as kids.

  21. Carole Atteberry

    what a lovely presentation Katrina, thank you for sharing such pertinent info….I will certainly look closer at the thistle in my yard and utilize it !! It is a great plant!!

  22. Jan

    Loved the presentation! Just noticed some thistle in my garden and it’s not dead yet. Do you use just the leaves in the juice or the stalks also? Can you dehydrate or freeze dry the leaves &/or stalks to rehydrate and use through the winter?

  23. Riesah Prock

    Just to let you know, Katrina, cirsium arvense is actually called Canada Thistle, just like the geese, Canada Geese.
    We have a lot of it and Scotch Thistle in our 2 acre field. I have spent years pulling them, root and all, and lately they were cut down, along with the very tall grasses. I love the aroma of the flowers and find it is very beautiful and attractive.
    I had wondered how to benefit from the thistle and your presentation has educated, intrigued and delighted me. I love your connection to our Earth Mother, which I share. I have also wanted to do more foraging and thistle may be the first food I’ll start working with. Many blessings to you.

  24. Jean

    The thistle root tea doesn’t seem to have an amount of liquid to the listed ingredients. Am I overlooking that information? Thank you Katrina for not only giving a very informative presentation but also taking the time to personally answer the questions and comments.

  25. Pascale P.

    Many thanks for this splendid presentation. It hit home on so many levels. I never considered that seeking nourishment from perennial, local plants would indeed contribute to my connection to the land. I’m looking forward to trying out these recipes! The thistles in my back yard of St-Albert, Ontario, will surely be put to further use from this point on.

  26. Angie

    How much water is used for the recipe given for the Thistle Chai?

  27. Kristi

    Thank you….I enjoyed hearing more about the many uses for thistle. I started researching it last year and collected some seeds from what I believe is Bull Thistle. Are there any Thistle plants to avoid or any bad look a likes to be aware of?

  28. Jacqueline

    Thank our Lord and creator for the wonderful world, and now I’ll also add thanks for the wonderful thistle! Not sure about the thistle talking though. Perhaps it was your guardian angel.

  29. Sgl

    Jacqueline said what I was thinking, “Thank our Lord and Creator for the wonderful world” He has created!!! There were so many thistles blooming when I went for a walk with my granddaughter in Oklahoma and I was wishing I knew more about them. Now I do! When I was little, my grandmother would pick the flowers before they were prickly and we made little baskets. I have never forgot it and that was probably 45 years ago, but she never said anything about eating them. Thank you for such amazing information. I didn’t notice that Katrina had written a book just on the Thistle. If not, go the eBook route and raise some funds for Turtle Creek!

    1. joanna

      I find this interesting, as in Genesis, when the ground was cursed with “thorns and thistles”, one would take away that these are not good for us. However, I believe there are lots of wild plants, etc., that we have overlooked and have many minerals and benefits…I’m not really convinced that we should be eating this one specifically though…However it seems thee thorns nourishes the ground and perhaps we should leave them there to benefit the land.

  30. Kim

    Thank you for the video, Katrina! Did you say “95,000” different pills?!

  31. Bonnie Krause-Gams

    Peace emits from you as you guide us to tune into the wonders of natures plants. Thank you for all the ideas on how to use thistle.
    I love it that you are back with this summit.

  32. Marcia DeClerk

    I have had a liver transplant and take anti rejection mess. Would it be safe for me to take thistle plant?

  33. Jacqui

    Wonderful presentation on thistle. Will check out your book. Thank you for doing this.

  34. Hans Quistorff

    More incentive to dig those thistles before the wind spreads the seeds wher I dont want them.

  35. Paul

    Information was decent but the hug-hug hippie metaphysical crap was hip deep and really obnoxious. I kept wishing that Melvin Udall would show and say, “Where do they teach you to talk like this? In some Panama City “Sailor wanna hump-hump” bar, or is it getaway day and your last shot at his whiskey? Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.” (Jack Nicholson from the movie “As Good As It Gets”)

  36. Sandy

    Thanks, Katrina for introducing us to such a potent family of herbs. Sometimes our prickly friends are the ones we appreciate most! I also want to thank you for taking us through the process of so deeply studying and seeking to understand how one plant could reach so profoundly into the web of nature and resonate back so many gifts to us. You have a deep, delicate and grandly loving mission in this world!

  37. Pat

    Beautiful and inspiring connection with nature. Thank you!!!

  38. Rosa

    Thistle here in portugal it is also use for coagulete the milk into cheese , and not to forget that thistle it is artichoke 🙂

  39. Ken

    Informative, but all of the Plant Spirit talk was very detracting for me.

  40. Debie

    If Green Juice is suppose to increase the alkaline in the body why do you include a lemon that is an acidic fruit? Seems to defeat the purpose.

  41. Dave

    I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me understand in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

Comments are closed.

Click Here To Watch On Demand