Latin name: Centaurium umbellatum
Other names: Bitter Clover,
Bitterbloom, Christ's Ladder, Feverwort, Wild Succory
A Remedy For
Although Centaury has been judged
worthwhile only for poor appetite, it
also has some effect against fever
and is used for this purpose in
homeopathic medicine. Other
uses--all of doubtful effectiveness--include treatment of high blood pressure,
kidney stones, diabetes, indigestion,
What It Is; Why It Works
This bitter-tasting plant is found
in Mediterranean regions and as far north as Britain and Scandinavia. It is
also cultivated in the United States. The medicinal parts of Centaury are the
dried flowers, which grow purple to
pink-red and occasionally white. A
diminutive annual, the plant generally
reaches a height of less than a
Centaury works by stimulating
production of saliva and digestive juices. It also has some effect on inflammation
and fever. In medieval times it was
recommended for snake bite and
poisoning. Its name stems from Greek
mythology, in which the centaur,
Chiron, was said to have cured his
wounds with the plant.
Because Centaury tends to increase
stomach acids, you should avoid it if
you have an ulcer.
At customary dosage levels, Centaury
poses no particular risks.
Possible Drug Interactions
No drug interactions have been
Special Information If You Are
Pregnant or Breastfeeding
No harmful effects are known.
How to Prepare
Centaury is available in crushed,
powdered, and liquid extract form.
To make a tea, pour 150 milliliters
(5 ounces) of boiling water over 2 to 3
grams (about one-half teaspoonful)
of crushed Centaury, steep for 15
minutes, and strain.
Crushed herb: 6 grams daily
Liquid extract: 1 to 2 grams daily
Tea: Half an hour before meals
The strength of commercial
preparations may vary. Follow the
manufacturer's directions whenever
Store away from light and moisture
in a tightly sealed container.
No information on overdosage is