Centaury

Centaury, treatment of gallbladder disorders, Herbal remedies, Herb for health

The ability if this elegant little biennial to cure fever has long been known, hence its other common name,feverwort. Found in grassy places across Europe, centaury grows to a height of 10-60cm. Its spindly stems are crowned in summer by clusters of pink, star-shaped flowers. Its long, pale leaves grow in a dense rosette around the base, but in pairs higher up the stem.


Parts used

  • Leaves. stems and flowers
  • The aerial parts are gathered just as the flowers come into full bloom. in June, July and August.
  • They are dried and crushed for use in infusions. decoctions. powders and tinctures.
  • Centaury is often combined with other herbs that stimulate the appetite. such as gentian and mugwort.

Constituents

The aerial parts of centaury are rich in phenolic acids, flavonoids and xanthone derivatives. It also contains bitter principles. including a number of secoiridoids.


Medicinal uses

The bitter secoiridoids stimulate the appetite by increasing the flow of gastric juices. Centaury is also taken to treat chronic digestive problems and flatulence. It is diuretic and stimulates bile flow. so is used to help to eliminate toxins and treat liver and gall-bladder disorders. The plant is often prescribed as a tonic in combination with anise. chamomile. peppermint and fennel, for cases of extreme fatigue and during convalescence.


Experiments have shown that an aqueous extract of centaury helps to fight fever and is anti-inflammatory.These properties are believed to be due to the phenolic acids.


Centaury is also used as an active ingredient in lotions to combat head lice and prevent hair loss.


CAUTIONS

  • A course of treatment involving centaury should last no longer than ten days. as the plant can irritate the lining of the stomach.
  • Centaury is not suitable for people who suffer from peptic ulcers or inflammation in any part of the digestive tract.
  • Do not use centaury preparations when pregnant or breastfeeding.

PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


TO TREAT lack of appetite. indigestion. flatulence. excessive tiredness.


INFUSION Put 19 of the dried plant into a cup of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 15 minutes and strain. Drink 3 cups a day, cold or lukewarm, before meals.


POWDER Take 1-2g, two or three times a day.


TINCTURE (1:4 in 45% alcohol) Put 30 drops into a glass of water. Take three times a day.


For external use


TO TREAT head lice. loss of hair DECOCTION Put 30-50g of the dried plant into 1 litre of water. Leave to boil for 2-3 minutes. After straining and allowing to cool. rub the warm liquid into the scalp once or twice a day.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation

Plant in sandy. neutral to alkaline soil. in a sunny spot.



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