Also Known as: Centaurium erythrae, Bluebottle, Bluet, Cornflower, Common Centaury, Feverwort, European Centaury, Bitter Herb, Lesser Centaury, Mad Dog’s Herb, Dog Bite Herb, Stand Up and Go Away, Centre Of The Sun, Centaury Gentian, Christ’s ladder, Bitter Bloom, Bitter Clover, Bitter-Rose, Centory, Chironia, Fel Terrae, Steps of Christ, Thousand Golden Leaves, Wild Succory, Pharmaceutical Name: Herba Centaurii
Centuary is considered to be one of the most useful bitter herbs. It acts on the kidneys and liver, purifies the blood, strengthens digestive function, increases stomach secretions to assist with the breakdown of food, stimulates the appetite, and increases bile production. The whole herb is an appetizer, aromatic, bitter, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emetic, febrifuge, hepatic, homeopathic, poultice, stomachic, tonic, liver stimulant, and mild nervine. Centaury has an interesting history of uses, and according to legend was named because of the mythical centaur Chironia who cured a poison arrow wound with the herb. Because it is so bitter, the ancient Romans called it the 'bile of the earth' (fel terraae), and the Anglo-Saxons named it feverwort because they utilized it to treat fevers and snake bites.
In folk medicine, Centaury was employed to strengthen the bladder and prevent bed wetting, for constipation, colic, anemia, gas, heartburn, delayed menses, to lose weight, to destroy head lice, for gout, and for digestion. Centaury was considered a panacea, and was recommended for virtually any medical condition or disorder. Farmers historically added this herb to the fodder of their sick or emaciated cows, horses, and chickens, and washed their wounds with a cooled infusion.
Centuary is a flavoring agent in bitter herbal liquers, and an ingredient in vermouth. It is used in homeopathic medicine as a treatment for fevers, and the flower essence is recommended for the 'weak willed' who are 'easily influenced'. Cosmetically, a cooled infusion of Centaury may be applied to the face to clear blemishes and soften the skin, and is said to remove freckles and age/sun spots. Within rituals, Centuary is said to assist with meditation, visualization, and to repel unwanted energy.
In magick, Centaury is ruled by the Sun and Fire. It can be used for protection and in the past it was used to repel and remove snakes.
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