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Centaurium erythraeaCentaurium erythraea/Erythraea centaurium (Gentianaceae)

CENTAURY, RED CENTAURY, FILWORT

 

The leaves and stems of centaury are given by herbalists for digestive problems.

 

The mythical centaur Chironia, who was skilled with herbal medicine, cured a poisoned arrow wound with centaury, hence its name. A classic bitter herb, it has a long tradition as a wound healer and curer of infections. Native to Europe and north Africa, it is an annual with pale-green, shiny, spear-shaped leaves and clusters of red five-petalled flowers in late summer.

 

PARTS USED

Leaves, stem.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Glycosides known as secoiroids, including sweroside and gentiopicrin; alkaloids, including gentianine and gentioflavine; xanthones; phenolic acids; triterpenes, including sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.

 

ACTIONS

Bitter (digestive stimulant); stimulates the stomach; tonic.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Given for anorexia and indigestion, particularly if the liver or gallbladder are weak.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, tincture.

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