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Holisticonline.com

Herb Information
Name: Centaury
Biological Name: Centaurium erythraea, Centaurium umbellatum, Erythraea centaurium

Gentianaceae

Other Names: Centaury, Century, Feverwort, Bitter herb, common centaury, lesser.centaury, centaury, European Centaury
Parts Used: Dried aerial parts
Active Compounds:
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Secoiridoids. These glycosides are the so-called bitter principles and include sweroside, its m-hydroxybenzoyl esters centapicrin, desacetylcentapicrin, the related glucosides decentapicrin A, B & C, gentiopicroside (=gentiopicrin), swertiamarin.

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Alkaloids: gentianine, gentianidine, gentioflavine

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Xanthone derivatives such as l,a8-dihydroxy-3,5,6,7-tetramethoxyxanthone

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Phenolic acids including protocatechuic, m- and p-hydroxbenzoic, vanillic, syringic, p-coumaric, ferulic and caffeic

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Triterpenes; b-sitosterol, campesterol, brassicsterol, stigmasterol, a-and b-amyrin, erythrodiol.

Remedies For

Bitter, hepatic, appetizer, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emetic, febrifuge, tonic.

Indications : It may be used whenever a digestive and gastric stimulant is required. Used primarily in appetite loss (anorexia) when it is associated with liver weakness. Centaury is a useful herb in dyspepsia and in any condition where a sluggish digestion is involved.

Historically, European centaury was one of the traditional panaceas, having been recommended and used for practically everything except diarrhea. It stimulates the activity of the salivary, stomach, and intestinal glands, thereby relieving constipation and gas and promoting proper digestion. This activity probably accounts for many of its other beneficial effects. 

The tea is commonly taken for heartburn, colic, suppressed menstruation, and anemia. Taken over a long period, it tends to help in taking off weight. 

A strong decoction is said to be emetic, a strong infusion diaphoretic, and a light infusion tonic.

Externally, a lotion made from European centaury removes skin blemishes like freckles and spots. It is useful for people who lead sedentary lives and who don't get much outdoor exercise.

Description:

Native to Europe, including the British Isles, Western Asia, North Africa and naturalized in N. America.

European centaury is an annual or biennial plant found all over Europe In damp meadows, forest clearings, and sandy soils. The stem is 6 to 18 inches high, quadrangular to hexagonal, hollow when older, and branched near the top. The basal leaves are ovate and grow in a rosette; the stem leaves are opposite, sessile, and ovate-oblong. The rose-red, funnel- shaped flowers grow in cymes from June to September.

Dosage: 

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes. Drink one cup half an hour before meals.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Combinations : In dyspepsia it combines well with Meadowsweet, Marshmallow Root and Chamomile. In anorexia nervosa it is indicated with Burdock Root and Chamomile.

Safety:

No information available. Some herbs are known to react with your medication. Please consult your physician before starting on any herb.

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