Silberdistel Trail

Discover medicinal Alpine plants in their natural habitat on the Silberdistel Trail. The walk starts in a fertile, herb-rich Alpine pasture, where cattle once grazed, ruminated and probably enjoyed the magnificent view too! Beyond this lies a swathe of chalk grassland, strewn with rocks and Alpine rosebushes and bordered by chalk scree slopes. There are over 400 species of medicinal plant to be discovered here, including:


This delicate annual only comes into bloom in August, in sparse Alpine meadows. The plant parasitically obtains the nutrients it requires from the roots of surrounding grasses. Believed to be antibacterial, the herb is used both internally and externally to treat eye infections, particularly conjunctivitis – either brewed as a tea or used to make a tincture, which is then applied in dilution as an eyewash. Father Sebastian Kneipp gave the herb the name “Magentrost” (“solace of the stomach”) and recommended it as a remedy for
                                   stomach troubles.

Please note: If you have an eye infection, you should consult your doctor.


Crystal clear pearls of morning dew form round the edge and cup-shaped base of this plant’s fan-like leaves, giving the herb its nickname of “Taumänteli” (“dewy mantle”). In folk medicine, the herb is considered to be a panacea for women’s problems, helping with heavy menstruation, premenstrual pains and mood swings.


Tip: Crushed and applied externally, the herb can be used to heal wounds, stings and cuts.


Now protected in the wild, the silver thistle is no longer used medicinally. Its taproot, which can grow up to 30 cm long, was formerly used as a feed supplement for cows and pigs, as a defence against infection, and as a general health-boosting powder for animals and humans. Tea made from the root of the plant was an old home remedy used to cure colds, help with digestion, and treat worms. The root extract was used in baths and ablutions to fight against skin diseases and impurities of every kind.

We would like to point out that the preparation and use of medicinal plants is best left to experts. Whilst we have been careful to check the accuracy of all the information provided here, any use of these plants is at the walker’s own risk. Neither the original authors (CÀRICA GmbH) nor Luftseilbahn Engelberg-Brunni AG accept liability.