Scientific name: Carlina vulgaris (common Carline Thistle), Carlina acaulis (stemless  Carline Thistle

Common names: Dwarf carline, Ground thistle, Southernwood root

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    كارلينا (carlina)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Compositae

Approximate number of species known: 30

Common parts used: Root, leaf


Annual/Perennial: Perennial


Actions: Carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge

Known Constituents: Oil including carlina oxide and carilene;  inulin, phenol, palmitic acid, tannin, resin, flavanoids

Constituents Explained:


Cultivation Prefers the sun.  Prefers alkaline soil. Fairly drought tolerant, and can last as low as -20C.

A protected plant in the wild.

Traditional Use:

Not a commonly used herb today, though at one time it was used greatly as an aphrodisaic.  Sometimes compared to elecampane. Used in creams as an anti septic, and used for the urinary tract.  When it is used today its used for the digestive system, liver and gallbladder.

Externally the root has been used for wounds.  The root is emetic in large doses and febrifuge in large doses.

Clinical Studies:

Carlina acaulis has a long history of medicinal use in Europe due to its antimicrobial properties. The strong activity of Carlina oxide, the main compound of the essential oil of C. acaulis against two MRSA strains, Streptococcus pyogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, and C. glabratawas confirmed. 

A strong and selective activity against Trypanosoma brucei brucei was recorded. The selective toxicity of Carlina oxidemakes it a promising lead compound for the development of drugs to treat African trypanosomiasis and multiresistant gram-positive bacteria.


Herrmann F, Hamoud R, Sporer F, Tahrani A, Wink M. “Corlina Oxide – A Natural Polyacetylene From Carlina Acaulis (Asteraceae) With Potent Antitrypanosomal And Antimicrobial Properties.” 2011 November