Umbelliferous centaury (Centaurium umbellatum L.)

The centaury umbrella is a one- or two-year-old plant from the gentian family (Genti-anaceae). Other names: core, scrofula, Turkish carnation, grass, tirlych-grass, centauria, seven-strength.


A low herbaceous, one- or two-year-old plant with a thin root and a straight single tetrahedral, often branched stem at the top. The lower leaves are collected in a basal rosette, obovate, narrowed into a petiole, stem leaves are opposite, elliptical, pointed, sessile. The flowers are bright pink, with a thin yellowish tube and a flat bend with 5-oval lobes, collected at the top of the stem in a corymbose-paniculate inflorescence. Blossoms in June-August. Meets centaury umbrella in dry meadows, forest edges, clearings, along river banks, on hills, fallow lands. Overgrowth does not form.


For medicinal purposes, the centaury herb is used – Herba Centaurii. Harvesting of raw materials is carried out at the beginning of flowering, when the leaves in the rosette have not yet begun to turn yellow. The entire ground part is cut off, with or without rosette leaves, and dried in the air in the shade. Ready-made raw centaury is a well-dried and often bunched plant with stems, leaves and flowers (but without roots), retaining its natural color and bitter taste. The raw material has no smell. According to the requirements of the Pharmacopoeia IX and the standard (GOST 23980-44), the raw material must have the following indicators: stem length up to 25 cm; stems without leaves and flowers no more than 3%; plants with unseparated roots or separated roots not more than 2%; yellowed or blackened flowers no more than 5%; organic impurities not more than 1%; mineral not more than 1%; humidity no more than 14%; ash content is not more than 7%.

Contains active substances:

The centaury herb contains bitter glycosides and a significant amount of alkaloids (up to 1%), from which gentianin is isolated, which is also found in other plants of the gentian family. Of the glycosides, gentiopicrin, erytaurin, obtained in the form of colorless prisms, and erythrocentaurin, which are colorless crystals that turn red in air, have been isolated. Also found are the flavone glycoside centaurein, oleanolic and ascorbic (vitamin C) acids.

Medicinal use:

Centaury is used as a bitter to stimulate appetite and improve digestion. Centaury herb is a part of fees and bitter tincture. The alkaloid gentianin has an antihistogenic effect. In folk medicine, centaury is known as the core and is used as a decoction for heart diseases, for stomach diseases, colds, uterine bleeding and women’s diseases, for pulmonary tuberculosis and jaundice, as a gastric and headache, centaury is a favorite folk remedy for all kinds of diseases.

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