Centaurium erythraea

Botanical name :Centaurium erythraea
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Centaurium
Species: C. erythraea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms:  Centaurium minus. Centaurium umbellatum. Erythraea centaurium.

Common Names: common centaury and European centaury.

Habitat :
This centaury is a widespread plant of Europe and parts of western Asia and northern Africa. It has also naturalised in parts of North America and throughout eastern Australia, where it is an introduced species.

This herb  grows in Open woods, meadows and dry grasslands, often on chalky soilsOpen woods, meadows and dry grasslands, often on chalky soilsOpen woods, meadows and dry grasslands, often on chalky soils.

 Description:
This is an erect biennial herb which reaches half a meter in height. It grows from a small basal rosette and bolts a leafy, s herb grows in erect stem which may branch. The triangular leaves are arranged oppositely on the stem and the erect inflorescences emerge from the stem and grow parallel to it, sometimes tangling with the foliage.It is in flower from Jun to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile. Each inflorescence may contain many flowers. The petite flower is pinkish-lavender and about a centimeter across, flat-faced with yellow anthers. The fruit is a cylindrical capsule.
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Cultivation:    
Prefers a well-drained sandy loam with some peat and a sunny position. It avoids wet or rich soils. Plants are not easy to grow in a garden. The flowers only open in fine weather and close at midday. 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. A very variable plant, some botanists divide it into a number of separate species.

Propagation:       
Seed – sow February to May in situ or as soon as it is ripe in situ. Germination is usually rapid.

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Edible Uses:
The plant is used as a flavouring in bitter herbal liqueurs and is an ingredient of vermouth

Medicinal Uses:
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. By increasing stomach secretions it hastens the breakdown of food, it also stimulates the appetite and increases bile production. 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. The whole herb is appetizer, aromatic, bitter, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emetic, weakly febrifuge, hepatic, stomachic and tonic. It acts on the liver and kidneys, purifies the blood and is an excellent tonic for the digestive system. Externally, the fresh green herb is said to be a good application to wounds and sores. It is often used in combination with other herbs such as camomile (Chamaemelum nobile), meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and marshmallow (Althaea officinalis). The whole plant is harvested when in flower and can be dried for later use. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Weak willed’, ‘Too easily influenced’ and ‘Willing servitors’. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. 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

Other Uses  
Dye.

A long-lasting bright yellowish-green dye is obtained from the flowers.

Known Hazards :  May cause mild abdominal discomfort and cramps. Contraindicated in patients with peptic ulcers. Safety during pregnancy and lactation has not been established

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurium+erythraea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurium_erythraea

 

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