Centaurium erythraea, “Common centaury” in English and “Petite centaurée commune” in French, belongs to the Gentianaceae botanical family. It is a herb, growing to 0.3 m. Native from Europe to south west Asia, it grows in open woods, meadows and dry grasslands.
It is used as a flavoring in bitter herbal liqueurs and is an ingredient of vermouth.
It is used in traditional medicine to treat various diseases such as diabetes, fever, rhinitis, liver and stomach ailments, urinary tract infections, dyspeptic complaints, loss of appetite, hemorrhoids, and as diuretic.
Among its main constituents are several classes of secondary metabolites such as xanthonoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, iridoids (swertamarin, sweroside, gentiopicroside) phenolic acids, and fatty acids.