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Centaurium erythraea - Rafn.

Common Name Centaury - Feverwort, European centaury
Family Gentianaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards May cause mild abdominal discomfort and cramps. Contraindicated in patients with peptic ulcers. Safety during pregnancy and lactation has not been established [301].
Habitats Open woods, meadows and dry grasslands[9, 13], often on chalky soils[4].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Sweden to the Mediterranean and east to S. W. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Centaurium erythraea Centaury - Feverwort, European centaury


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Centaurium erythraea Centaury - Feverwort, European centaury
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Centaurium erythraea is a ANNUAL/BIENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in). It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms

Centaurium minus. Centaurium umbellatum. Erythraea centaurium.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The plant is used as a flavouring in bitter herbal liqueurs and is an ingredient of vermouth[268].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Appetizer;  Aromatic;  Bach;  Bitter;  Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Digestive;  Emetic;  
Febrifuge;  Hepatic;  Homeopathy;  Poultice;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

One of the most useful bitter herbs, centaury strengthens digestive function, especially within the stomach[254]. By increasing stomach secretions it hastens the breakdown of food, it also stimulates the appetite and increases bile production[254]. The plant needs to be take over a number of weeks and an infusion should be slowly sipped so that the components (their bitterness can be detected at a dilution of 1:3,500) can stimulate reflex activity throughout the upper digestive tract[254]. The whole herb is appetizer, aromatic, bitter, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emetic, weakly febrifuge, hepatic, stomachic and tonic[9, 13, 21, 165, 268]. It acts on the liver and kidneys, purifies the blood and is an excellent tonic for the digestive system[4, 238]. Externally, the fresh green herb is said to be a good application to wounds and sores[4]. It is often used in combination with other herbs such as camomile (Chamaemelum nobile), meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)[238]. The whole plant is harvested when in flower and can be dried for later use[4, 238]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Weak willed', 'Too easily influenced' and 'Willing servitors'[209]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of liver and gall bladder ailments[9]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Centaurium erythraea for dyspeptic complaints, loss of appetite (see [302] for critics of commission E).

Other Uses

Dye.

A long-lasting bright yellowish-green dye is obtained from the flowers[13, 100].

Cultivation details

Prefers a well-drained sandy loam with some peat[1] and a sunny position[238]. It avoids wet or rich soils[115]. Plants are not easy to grow in a garden[4]. The flowers only open in fine weather and close at midday[4]. Although the growing plant is scentless, if the cut stems are immersed in warm water for 24 hours a most penetrating odour will be observed on distillation[245]. A very variable plant, some botanists divide it into a number of separate species[4].

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Propagation

Seed - sow February to May in situ or as soon as it is ripe in situ[17]. Germination is usually rapid.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

Rafn.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

mary follin   Tue Sep 1 2009

Hi, I am desperately looking to grow this plant from seeds or plants as I tske the tincture prepared by A. Vogel everyday which is pulling on the purse strings and I have tried other alternatives but find this works best. Do you know who sells these seeds/plants as I do not want to forage for them. thank-you

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