We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Centaury?

By Lumara Lee
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Centaury is a flowering annual herb native to Africa, Asia, and Europe, and which grows wild in many places in North America. It was named after a centaur in Greek mythology who was reputed to have an extensive knowledge of healing herbs. Centaury’s botanical name is Centaurium erythraea, and it belongs to the gentian family. Flowers shaped like stars blossom in pinkish to lavender colored clusters, and the mature plant can reach a height of 12 inches (30 centimeters). It is known for its bitter flavor, which in the past earned it the nickname “gall of the earth.”

The same constituents that give centaury its bitter taste also provide its medicinal properties. These include the ability to aid digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive juices in the stomach and the production of bile. The whole herb can be used medicinally.

Centaury acts as a tonic for the stomach and liver and can relieve indigestion, gas, bloating, nausea, constipation, and other gastrointestinal complaints. It has the ability to remove toxins from the gallbladder and liver and to purify the blood. Centaury has been used to treat gallbladder disease, hepatitis, liver disease, and jaundice.

It also has antiseptic properties. The crushed leaves can be used as a poultice to help heal wounds, and a cooled infusion of the leaves can be used to wash cuts, ulcers, and sores. This infusion has also been used to treat acne.

Drinking several ounces of the tea three to four times a day has been known to stimulate a failed appetite and relieve the symptoms of arthritis. It is diaphoretic, which means it can increase perspiration. This effect can help lower fevers, giving the herb the nickname feverwort. Centaury has also been used as a vermifuge to expel worms.

The herb has a long history of use as a folk medicine. At one time, centaury was so popular that it was the panacea recommended for every affliction. It was used to treat animals as well as people, and was added to animal feed to treat sickly and malnourished livestock. The plant was also used to kill head lice and heal snakebite. It was commonly combined with barberry to relieve the pain of gout.

Women used centaury to encourage the onset of delayed menstruation to relieve cramps. It has also been used to soothe colic and treat diabetes. Some believe that the herb can improve metabolic disorders and promote weight loss.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.