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Centaury European

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  • Botanical: Centaurium erythraea
  • Family: Gentianaceae
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Centaury European

Botanical

Centaurium erythraea

Family

Gentianaceae

Known as

common centaury, Echtes Tausendgüldenkraut

Old Use

medical, industry

Parts Used

herb, leaves

Medicinal

abdominal pain, constipation, cramps, cramps stomach, cystitis, gastrointestinal, laxative, liver weakness, joint inflammation, stomach pain, vomiting

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, digestion, gastritis, gastrointestinal, gastric inflammation, laxative, liver weakness, indigestion, intestinal inflammation, nausea, stomach pain, stomach cramps, stomach complaints, stomach weakness, ulcers, vomiting, emetic

Skin & Hair

wounds

Properties

cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, febrifuge, stomachic, tonic

Description

This is an erect biennial herb which reaches half a meter in height. It grows from a small basal rosette and bolts a leafy, erect stem which may branch. The triangular leaves are arranged oppositely on the stem and the erect inflorescences emerge from the stem and grow parallel to it, sometimes tangling with the foliage. Each inflorescence may contain many flowers. The petite flower is pinkish-lavender and about a centimeter across, flat-faced with yellow anthers. The fruit is a cylindrical capsule.

Properties & Uses

One of the most useful bitter herbs, centaury strengthens digestive function, especially within the stomach. By increasing stomach secretions it hastens the breakdown of food, it also stimulates the appetite and increases bile production\. The plant needs to be take over a number of weeks and an infusion should be slowly sipped so that the components can stimulate reflex activity throughout the upper digestive tract. The whole herb is appetizer, aromatic, bitter, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emetic, weakly febrifuge, hepatic, stomachic and tonic. It acts on the liver and kidneys, purifies the blood and is an excellent tonic for the digestive system. Externally, the fresh green herb is said to be a good application to wounds and sores. It is often used in combination with other herbs such as camomile (Chamaemelum nobile), meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and marshmallow (Althaea officinalis). The whole plant is harvested when in flower and can be dried for later use. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Weak willed', 'Too easily influenced' and 'Willing servitors'. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of liver and gall bladder ailments.

Other Uses

A long-lasting bright yellowish-green dye is obtained from the flowers

Cautions

May cause mild abdominal discomfort and cramps. Contraindicated in patients with peptic ulcers. Safety during pregnancy and lactation has not been established

Distribution

This centaury is a widespread plant of Europe and parts of western Asia and northern Africa. It has also naturalised in parts of North America and throughout eastern Australia, where it is an introduced species.

Constituents

Centaury contains a bitter principle, Erythro-centaurin, which is colourless, crystalline, non-nitrogenous, reddened by sunlight; a bitter glucoside, Erytaurin; Valeric acid, wax, etc.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.