Mexican Thistle

Hierba del sapo, raíz del sapo, escorzonera, cabezona, cardón, espinosa

· Medicinal Herbs

The genus Eryngium comprises more than de 250 species, some of which are employed as spices and medicinal plants in different parts of the world. Two species of annual herbs, E. heterophyllum and E. carlinae, are found throughout Mexico and in some parts of the United States.

This whole plant has a silvery thistle look. The leaves as well as the bracts around the flower are bristle-toothed. It grows 1 1/2-2 feet tall, with a heavy, stout stem densely branched on the upper half. The stems are smooth, but the leaves are divided into sharp lobes on each side of a midrib.

Mexican thistle is taken to dissolve kidney and gall bladder stones, to treat cancer, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, for angina and to prevent atherosclerosis.

What is it used for?

The tea made from the leaves is taken to treat coughs, pertussis (whooping cough), urinary infections, and to lower cholesterol. The roots are edible and are candied as sweets or boiled or roasted. The juice extracted or decocted from the root is drunk as an aphrodisiac, for its diuretic action, and to induce uterine contractions. The plant is combined with other medicinal herbs for the treatment of gonorrhea. Mexican thistle is taken to dissolve kidney and gall bladder stones, to treat cancer, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, for angina and to prevent atherosclerosis.

A study undertaken by Klein-Junior et al (2016) concluded that various Eryngium species, due to their monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitory action, have potential application as a source of promising central nervous system bioactive secondary metabolites, especially related to the treatment of various neurodegenerative disorders.


Mexican thistle


What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery. Risk factors may include high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical activity, and eating saturated fats.

The build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls.

A build up of cholesterol plaque in the walls of arteries, causing obstruction of blood flow. Plaques may rupture, causing acute occlusion of the artery by clot.

Atherosclerosis often has no symptoms until a plaque ruptures or the build-up is severe enough to block blood flow.

A healthy diet and exercise can help. Treatments include medication, procedures to open blocked arteries and surgery.

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood.

When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals.

If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, particularly from high-carbohydrate foods, you may have high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia).

What's considered normal?

A simple blood test can reveal whether your triglycerides fall into a healthy range:

  • Normal — Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or less than 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)
  • Borderline high — 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L)
  • High — 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3 to 5.6 mmol/L)
  • Very high — 500 mg/dL or above (5.7 mmol/L or above)

Your doctor will usually check for high triglycerides as part of a cholesterol test, which is sometimes called a lipid panel or lipid profile. You'll have to fast before blood can be drawn for an accurate triglyceride measurement.

What's the difference between triglycerides and cholesterol?

Triglycerides and cholesterol are different types of lipids that circulate in your blood:

 store unused calories and provide your body with energy.

  • Cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones.

Mexican thistle flavonolignans protects against LDL oxidation and atherosclerosis.

Can you reverse atherosclerosis naturally?

There's no proof that any supplement will cure atherosclerosis on its own. Any plan to treat the condition will likely include a healthy diet, an exercise plan, and perhaps prescription medicines to take along with supplements.

Here are some other lifestyle changes you can try to make.


Aim for 30 to 60 minutes per day of moderate cardio.

This amount of activity may help you:

  • manage a moderate weight
  • maintain a stable blood pressure
  • boost your HDL (good cholesterol) levels
  • lower your triglycerides

Dietary changes

Managing a moderate weight can lower your risk of developing complications due to atherosclerosis.

The following tips are a few ways to do this. You can try to:

  • Decrease sugar intake. Reduce or eliminate consumption of sodas, sweet tea, and other drinks or desserts sweetened with sugar or corn syrup.
  • Avoid trans fat and limit saturated fats. These are mostly found in ultra-processed foods, and both can cause your body to produce more cholesterol.