Centaurium erythraea

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Centaurium erythraea
Centaurium erythraea 220603.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Centaurium
C. erythraea
Binomial name
Centaurium erythraea
  • Gentiana centaurium L.
  • Erythraea centaurium
  • Centaurium minus
  • Centaurium umbellatum
Centaurium erythraea, as depicted in 6th-century Leiden manuscript of Pseudo-Apuleius' Herbarius

Centaurium erythraea is a species of flowering plant in the gentian family known by the common names common centaury and European centaury.


This is an erect biennial herb which reaches half a meter in height. It grows from a small basal rosette and bolts a leafy, erect stem which may branch. The triangular leaves are arranged oppositely on the stem and the erect inflorescences emerge from the stem and grow parallel to it, sometimes tangling with the foliage. Each inflorescence may contain many flowers. The petite flower is pinkish-lavender and about a centimeter across, flat-faced with yellow anthers. The fruit is a cylindrical capsule.

It flowers from June until September.


This centaury is a widespread plant of Europe (including Scotland, Sweden and Mediterranean countries,[1]) and parts of western Asia and northern Africa. It has also naturalised in parts of North America,[1] and throughout eastern Australia, where it is an introduced species.


It is also commonly known as “feverfoullie”, “gentian” or “centaury”.[1]


The European centaury is used as a medical herb in many parts of Europe.The herb, mainly prepared as tea, is thought[by whom?] to possess medical properties beneficial for patients with gastric and liver diseases.[2]

Chemical constituents[edit]

Antioxidant ingredients of the centaury are mainly phenolic acids[3] Including ferulic and sinapic acids. The plant also contains amounts of sterols as brassicasterol and stigmasterol.[4] It also contains two secoiridoid glycosides, swertiamarin and sweroside.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Kumarasamy, Y.; Nahar, L.; Cox, P. J.; Jaspars, M.; Sarker, S. D. (2003). "Bioactivity of secoiridoid glycosides from Centaurium erythraea". Phytomedicine. urbanfischer.de. 10: 344–347. doi:10.1078/094471103322004857. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Centaury, Herbal medicine: Summary for the Public" (PDF). European Medicines Agency. 2 February 2016.
  3. ^ Valentão, P.; Fernandes, E.; Carvalho, F.; Andrade, P. B.; Seabra, R. M.; Bastos, M. L. (July 2001). "Antioxidant Activity ofInfusion Evidenced by Its Superoxide Radical Scavenging and Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Activity". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 49 (7): 3476–3479. doi:10.1021/jf001145s. PMID 11453794.
  4. ^ http://www.mendeley.com/research/chemical-composition-and-biological-properties-of-erythraea-centaurium-rafn/[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]