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Centaury, or Feverwort – (Centaurium erythraea)

Centaury, or Feverwort

Centaury is native in Europe, Asia and North Africa, and has naturalized in North America. It normally grows in forest clearings and damp meadows. The leaves are pale green and shiny, appearing in a small rosette. The stem is square, stiff and erect. It is a somewhat yellowish color and becomes hollow in the mature plant. The flowers range from pink to pale purple. Occasionally yellow or white blossoms are seen.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Centaury builds the blood and acts as a general tonic to the body. It has been useful for gas, bloating, colic and other stomach issues; liver and gall bladder problems; heart burn; constipation; hepatitis, jaundice and kidney problems; diabetes, anorexia, intestinal worms and convalescence. It has also been used for fever, snakebite, and malaria. A hot infusion can be taken to relieve rheumatism. An extract has been used for high blood pressure.

Externally – Centaury has been used as a wash to clear the vision and applied to wounds to help them heal faster. A decoction has been used for head lice and other infestations.

Other Uses – Centaury is also used as a homeopathic herb, as a Bach Flower Remedy and in veterinarian medicine to treat many ailments in farm animals and jaundice in dogs. The infusion and decoction have been used as a cosmetic to remove age spots and freckles. It was considered lucky by the Irish and in ancient England, it was reputed to be one of 15 herbs of magic that were all-powerful against evil spirits.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Centaury can be combined with Roman chamomile, meadowsweet and marshmallow to treat dyspepsia, and with yellow dock and barberry for jaundice. The root can be combined with burdock root and chamomile to treat anorexia.

Parts Used

Mainly flowers – The flowers are used for the most part, but sometimes the entire above ground plant is used.


If you are using commercial preparations, follow the instructions on the label carefully. Do not take this herb while pregnant, as it can cause bleeding.

Preparation and Dosage

Centaury can be taken as an infusion, a decoction, a tincture or a liquid extract.

To make an infusion, add 1 ounce of dried herb to a pint of boiling water. Allow it to steep for ten minutes. Take a wineglass full one half hour before eating meals.

A decoction is prepared the same as the infusion, just allow it to steep for twenty minutes. Take a single teaspoon at a time.

A tincture should be taken in a dose of 1 teaspoon before meals.

Liquid extract can be taken in a dose of ¼ to ½ teaspoon every day.

Centaury Herbal Remedies Top