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Centaury

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Centaury (Zeltnera venusta)
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010



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Centaury (Zeltnera venusta)
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010



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Centaury (Zeltnera venusta)
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010



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Centaury (Zeltnera venusta) with white flowers
Dry Creek
May 27, 2010

Centaurium (formerly Erythraea) is a genus of 20 species in the gentian family (Gentianaceae), tribe Chironieae, subtribe Chironiinae. The genus was named after the centaur Chiron, famed in Greek mythology for his skill in medicinal herbs. It is distributed across Europe and into Asia.

Until 2004, Centaurium was given a much wider circumscription, comprising about 50 species ranging across Europe, Asia, the Americas, Australasia and the Pacific. However this circumscription was polyphyletic, so in 2004 the genus was split in four, being Centaurium sensu stricto, Zeltnera, Gyrandra and Schenkia.

Under the older circumscription, the common name for plants in this genus was Centaury. - Wikipedia

Medicinal Action and Uses---Aromatic bitter, stomachic and tonic. It acts on the liver and kidneys, purifies the blood, and is an excellent tonic.

The dried herb is given in infusion or powder, or made into an extract. It is used extensively in dyspepsia, for languid digestion with heartburn after food, in an infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of water. When run down and suffering from want of appetite, a wineglassful of this infusion Centaury Tea - taken three or four times daily, half an hour before meals, is found of great benefit. The same infusion may also be taken for muscular rheumatism.

Culpepper tells us that:
'the herbe is so safe that you cannot fail in the using of it, only give it inwardly for inward diseases, use it outwardly for outward diseases. 'Tis very wholesome, but not very toothsome.'

He says:
'it helps those that have the dropsy, or the green-sickness, being much used by the Italians in powder for that purpose. It kills worms ... as is found by experience.... A dram of the powder taken in wine, is a wonderful good help against the biting and poison of an adder. The juice of the herb with a little honey put to it, is good to clear the eyes from dimness, mists and clouds that offend or hinder sight. It is singularly good both for green and fresh wounds, as also for old ulcers and sores, to close up the one and cleanse the other, and perfectly to cure them both, although they are hollow or fistulous; the green herb, especially, being bruised and laid thereto. The decoction thereof dropped into the ears, cleanses them from worms . . . and takes away all freckles, spots, and marks in the skin, being washed with it.' - Botanical.com

Interestingly, or coincidently, this large patch of centaury is found in our horse pasture next to the house, on the knoll, we have been told, that was a sacred healing place for native women.

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