Home Medicinal Plants Centaury: effect and application

Centaury: effect and application

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 301 views

The very bitter-tasting centaury is an ancient remedy for digestive problems and loss of appetite. It is often used as a tea. Read more about the effects and uses of centaury!

What are the effects of centaury?

The aerial parts of the flowering centaury (Centaurii herba) contain many bitter substances, among other things. These cause the body to release more gastric juice and bile. In addition, appetite-enhancing and digestive effects have been proven for the medicinal plant. Therefore, centaury is recognized as a traditional herbal medicine for the treatment of:

  • loss of appetite
  • dyspeptic complaints (abdominal complaints such as heartburn, feeling of fullness, flatulence, slight cramps in the digestive tract)

Folk medicine also uses the centaury for many other diseases and complaints such as fever, wounds, bladder problems, liver problems, obesity, for blood purification and as a tonic and to prevent gallbladder colic. So far, there has not been sufficient scientific evidence of its effectiveness in these areas.

The effectiveness of centaury as an antipyretic when used internally and as a wound healing agent when used externally is plausible according to recent pharmacological studies.

How is centaury used?

There are several ways to use centaury. We introduce them to you.

Centaury as a home remedy

The dried, above-ground parts of the plant (stems, leaves, flowers) can be used to prepare tea as a hot water or cold water extract:

For the hot water extract, pour 150 milliliters of boiling water over a full teaspoon (about 1.8 grams) of dried, chopped centaury and strain the parts of the plant after about 10 to 15 minutes.

For the cold water extract, put a heaped teaspoon of the herb in a cup of cold water, let it steep for six to ten hours, stirring occasionally, then strain and warm the extract to drinking temperature.

The following applies to both preparation methods: You can drink a cup of centaury tea two to three times a day. The recommended daily dose is six grams of medicinal drug. Drink a cup half an hour before meals to stimulate your appetite, or after meals if you have indigestion.

Home remedies have their limits. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time, do not get better or even get worse despite treatment, you should always consult a doctor.

Finished preparations with centaury

There is also centaury tincture, powdered centaury in dragees and alcoholic extracts in drop form. You can find out how to use and dose these correctly from the respective package leaflet and from your doctor or pharmacist.

What side effects can centaury cause?

There are no known side effects from using centaury.

What you should consider when using centaury herb

  • Centaury must not be used on stomach or duodenal ulcers. 
  • All parts of the plant and the tea made from them taste quite bitter.
  • There are no studies on the safety of the use and dosage of centaury in pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children – please ask your doctor or pharmacist whether you should take the medicinal plant during this time.

How to get centaury products

The dried centaury and finished preparations based on the medicinal plant are available in pharmacies and some drugstores.

Before use, please read the respective package leaflet and ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Centaury: What is it?

Centaury (Centaurium erythraea) is a biennial, herbaceous, rather inconspicuous plant from the gentian family (Gentianaceae). It occurs with numerous subspecies in almost all of Europe as well as in North Africa, North America and western Asia and is a nature reserve in our country, so it may not be collected.

In the first year, the centaury forms a rosette of leaves. In the second year, the branched flower stalk grows up to about 30 centimeters in height. It bears small stem leaves and pink, five-lobed, tubular flowers, arranged in cymes, from July to September.

After pollination, the flowers develop into elongated capsule fruits with numerous small seeds.

The genus name Centaurium derives from the Greek word “kentaureion”, which translated means “belonging to the Centaurs”. The centaurs were mountain and forest dwellers with healing skills. Later, the genus name was mistakenly attributed to the Latin term “centum aurei” (100 gold pieces), which is why the plant used to be called hundred guilder herb.

The name probably alluded to the unaffordable healing power of the plant. Exaggerated, it became centaury.

You may also like

Leave a Comment