Centaury is a natural appetite stimulant, which can help improve nutrition and eating patterns in people suffering from anorexia nervosa.
Traditional centaury medicinal uses have included reducing inflammation to help treat rheumatic conditions like gout and muscular rheumatism.
Centaury is used as a tonic for helping improve digestive function, which can help prevent constipation, heartburn and indigestion.
Centaury has widely been used as a traditional remedy for expelling intestinal worms from the body. Taking a decoction of centaury is known to eliminate helminths and cleanse the body of associated impurities.
Century helps to cleanse the liver and kidneys, which can help regulate insulin production in those with diabetes.
The Red Centaury (Erythraea centaurium, Pers.) is a small, annual herb, native to Europe and naturalized in the United States. It thrives in boggy meadows as well as in dry dunes. The whole herb is used in medicine. Centaury also is known as minor centaury, lesser centaury, centaury herb, centaurri herba, common centaury, feverwort, filwort, bitter herb, red centaury, Christ's ladder, and centaury gentian.
The name of the genus Erythraea, is derived from the Greek erythros (red), from the colour of the flowers. The genus was formerly called Chironia, from the Centaur Chiron, who was famous in Greek mythology for his skill in medicinal herbs, and is supposed to have cured himself with it from a wound he had accidentally received from an arrow poisoned with the blood of the hydra. The English name Centaury has the same origin.
The ancients named the plant Fel Terrae, or Gall of the Earth from its extreme bitterness. The old Engiish name of Felwort is equivalent in meaning to this, and is applied to all the plants of the Gentian family. It is also thought to be the 'Graveolentia Centaurea' of Virgil, to which Lucretius gives the more significant epithet of tristia, in reference to this same intense bitterness.
As this bitterness had a healing and tonic effect attributed to it, we sometimes find the Centaury called Febrifuga and Feverwort. It is known popularly also as Christ's Ladder, and the name Centaury has become corrupted in Worcestershire to 'Centre of the Sun.'
As a natural remedy, the entire herb can be used and is often dried and turned into a powder, tea or tonic. Centaury is closely related to another herb, gentian, which is used in similar medicinal purposes as a cleansing tonic.
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