Feverwort / Centaury
Centaurium erytheaea

Feverwort is an herbaceous plant that can grow up to 1 metre in height. It has a circle of packed leaves at its base, and opposing leaves along the stem. The flowers, with red petals, are clustered together at the terminal part of the plant. It is a common species that grows well in open areas such as parks, household gardens, along roads and urban meadows. The plant has a long tradition of therapeutic use in treating fever. Feverwort is also commonly referred to as Centaury.

Traditional Uses

  • Internally Feverwort is used for its action as a general tonic to the body1
  • Traditionally, Feverwort has been used for lack of appetite, anorexia2 and indigestion1
  • Anglo-Saxon herbalists used centaury to treat fever, hence the name 'Feverwort'2,3


  • The whole extract of Feverwort herb increases gastric juice secretion7
  • The aerial part of the plant have been confirmed as a diuretic4(in vivo)
  • Feverwort has shown some anti-inflammatory and antipyretic2 effects(in vivo)


  • Feverwort is used to treat chronic digestive and gastrointestinal problems
  • Feverwort is also used to treat indigestion, upset stomach and appetite loss7,8


  • In vitro evidence: evidence from studies using isolated components of living organisms such as cells or purified molecules
  • In vivo evidence: evidence from studies with whole living organisms
  • Clinical trial evidence: evidence from clinical trials conducted with humans
  1. Allen, D. E. & Hatfield, G. 2012. Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition. (Timber Press, Incorporated.
  2. Newall C, et al. 1996. Herbal Medicines . London, England: Pharmaceutical Press; 67.
  3. Weiss R, et al. 2000 Herbal Medicine . 2d ed. New York, NY: Georg Theme Verlag. 52-54.
  4. Haloui M, Louedec L, Michel J, et al. 2000 Experimental diuretic effects of Rosmarinus officinalis and Centaurium erythraea . J Ethnopharmacol. 71:465-472.
  5. Schimmer O, Mauthner H. 1996. Polymethoxylated xanthones from the herb of Centaurium erythraea with strong antimutagenic properties in Salmonella typhimurium . Planta Med . 62:561-564.
  6. Sychev DA, Semenov AV, and Polyakova IP. 2011 A case of hepatic injury suspected to be caused by Canephron N, a Centaurium Hill containing phytotherapeutics International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine 23: 5–6
  7. Blumenthal M, ed. 1998 The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Boston, MA: American Botanical Council.
  8. European Medicines Agency 2009. Assessment report on Centaurium erythrae rafn. S.L. Including C. Majus Zeltner and C. Suffruticosum , Herba for the development of a community herbal monograph.
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