Centaurium erythraea/Erythraea centaurium
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.
Glycosides known as secoiroids, including sweroside and gentiopicrin; alkaloids,
including gentianine and gentioflavine; xanthones; phenolic acids; triterpenes, including sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.
Bitter (digestive stimulant); stimulates the stomach; tonic.
Given for anorexia and indigestion, particularly if the liver or gallbladder are weak.