Specification & Spread

Centaurium herb — herba centaurii
Red centaurium (centaurium) — centaurium erythraea rafn. ( = c. Minus moench; c. Umbellatum gilib.; erythraea centaurium (l.) Borkh.)
Red centaurium — centaurium pulchellum (sw.) Druce ( = erythraea pulchella (sw.) Hornem.)
Gentian family — gentianaceae
Other names: centaury, goldfish, cornflower, bachelor’s button, centuria, centaur, bluebottle common centaury. Red centaurium is a biennial or annual bare herbaceous plant.
It is a weakly branching taproot. The stems are single or in amount of 2-5, tetrahedral with blunt ribs, up to 35-40 cm tall, forked and branched only near the top, with sprigs directed upwards. The lower leaves form a long-lasting rosette, it is oblong-obovate, the stem leaves are opposite, sessile, lanceolate, the leaves are with well-marked five veins.
The flowers are pentamerous with a short calyx and a bright pink nail-like corolla. The inflorescence is a corymboline thyroid.
The fruit is a multi-seeded, narrow capsule.
The seeds are small, round and mesh-pit.
It blooms in June – August, the fruits ripen in August – September. In the first year only the rosette is developed.
It is allowed to harvest drug centaurium. It is an annual herbaceous plant 5–20 cm high, resembling red centaurium, but without a root rosette of leaves, with a branching pointed stem and darker, reddish-pink flowers from the base.
Spreading. Red centaurium is a predominantly Persian-European species. It grows throughout the European part of the country. The isolated locations are noted in Western Siberia (Altai) and Central Asia. The main harvesting area is the Ukrainian Carpathians, where the plant is often found on pastures.
The centaurium is a beautiful European-West Asian species. It grows in the European part of the country, comes to the west of Western Siberia.
Habitat. It grows on wet meadows, in floodplains of rivers, damp forests, along the edges of raised bogs. It grows small, sometimes quite dense clumps. The centaurium preparation is able to tolerate more salinity than red centaurium.


The chemical composition of centaurium
The plant contains:

  • monoterpenoid amarines (genziopykrin, amarogentin, svertsiamarin, etc.);
  • 0.6-1% of alkaloids, among them the main one is gentianin.

The herb also contains

  • tannins,
  • flavonoid glycoside centuurin,
  • oleanolic and ascorbic acids,
  • essential oil,
  • resins,
  • mucus.

There are found xanthones – gentisin, mangiferin (alpizarin), etc.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The herb is harvested in the flowering phase, in July – August, cutting off with a knife or sickle above the basal leaves. The cut herb is placed in the basket with flowers in one direction. Centaurium is not allowed to harvest — Centaurium spicatum (L.) Frisch. The flowers are harvested in the spike inflorescence, the stem leaves sit thickly on the stem. It grows in the southernmost steppe regions of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Security measures. It is forbidden to pull out plants with roots.
Drying. It is better to dry in dryers with artificial heating at a temperature of 40-50 °C. In the absence of artificial dryers it is dried in attics under iron or slate roofs, spreading herb inflorescences in one direction in thin layers on paper or cloth. It is not allowed to dry the herb in bundles, as this leads to its discoloration or rotting inside the bundle.
Storage. It is stored in dry and well-ventilated areas on racks or scaffold poles.

Whole raw materials
Inflorescence shoots. The stems are bare, simple or branched at the top, tetrahedral with blunt or sharp edges. The leaves are opposite, sessile, with five veins, oblong-ovate or lanceolate, glabrous and entire. The inflorescences are apical and corymbose. The flowers are regular, pentamerous with double perianth. The calyx are with five lobes. A corolla is with a long cylindrical tube and a five-part bend. There are five stamens. The colour of the stems, leaves and calyx is yellowish green, the corolla is pinkish purple, yellowish pink and yellow. The smell is weak. The taste is bitter.
Milled raw materials
The pieces of stems, leaves and flowers of various shapes are yellowish green, pinkish purple, yellowish pink and yellow and passing through a sieve with holes of 7 mm diameter. The smell is weak. The taste is bitter.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Means for stimulating appetite and choleretic agent (appetite stimulant).
The pharmacological properties.
Due to the bitter taste, centaurium preparations

  • stimulate appetite,
  • increase the secretion of digestive glands,
  • ncrease bile secretion,
  • and have laxative and anthelmintic properties (gentipicrin).

In the form of infusion, tinctures are used (like all bitterness) with poor appetite, insufficient secretory and motor function of the digestive tract, as an easy laxative agent; with various dyspeptic disorders (nausea, vomiting, belching, heartburn, flatulence), with colitis, dysentery as an adjunct in complex therapy.

With caution in case of gastric ulcer and 12 duodenal ulcer, individual intolerance, pregnancy and lactation.