The ordinary Small Centaury

Descript : This grows up most usually but with one round and somewhat crusted stalk, about a foot high or better, branching forth at the top into many sprigs, and some also from the joints of the stalks below; the flowers thus stand at the tops as it were in one umbel or tuft, are of a pale red, tending to carnation colour, consisting of five, sometimes six small leaves, very like those of St. John's Wort, opening themselves in the day time and closing at night, after which come seeds in little short husk, in forms like unto wheat corn. The leaves are small and somewhat round; the root small and hard, perishing every year. The whole plant is of an exceeding bitter taste.

There is another sort in all things like the former, save only it bears white flowers.

Place : They grow ordinarily in fields, pastures, and woods, but that with the white flowers not so frequently as the other.

Time : They flower in July or thereabouts, and seeds within a month after.

Government and virtues : They are under the dominion of the Sun, as appears in that their flowers open and shut as the Sun, either shows or hides his face. This herb, boiled and drank, purges choleric and gross humours, and helps the sciatica; it opens obstructions of the liver, gall, and spleen, helps the jaundice, and eases the pains in the sides and hardness of the spleen, used outwardly, and is given with very good effect in agues. It helps those that have the dropsy, or the green-sickness, being much used by the Italians in powder for that purpose. It kills the worms in the belly, as is found by experience. The decoction thereof, viz. the tops of the stalks, with the leaves and flowers, is good against the cholic, and to bring down women's courses, helps to avoid the dead birth, and eases pains of the mother, and is very effectual in all pains of the joints, as the gout, cramps, or convulsions. 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, cleanses the foul ulcers and spreading scabs of the head, and takes away all freckles, spots, and marks in the skin, being washed with it; the herb is so safe you cannot fail in the using of it, only giving it inwardly for inward diseases. It is very wholesome, but not very toothsome.

There is beside these, another small Centaury, which bears a yellow flower; in all other respects it is like the former, save that the leaves are larger, and of a darker green, and the stalks pass through the midst of them, as it does in the herb Thorowan. They are all of them, as I told you, under the government of the Sun; yet this, if you observe it, you shall find an excellent truth; in diseases of the blood, use the red Centaury; if of choler, use the yellow; but if phlegm or water, you will find the white best.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.