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Il Centocchio

Centocchio is a small plant belonging to the Caryophyllaceae family. Its scientific name is Stellaria, a name that derives from the Latin and was given to the plant by the characteristic star shape of its flowers. The flowers, in fact, are pentamers and pentacyclics: they are composed of a chalice composed of five sepals and a corolla composed of five white petals. The plant produces fruits with an oval shape, which can be opened through six valves whose seeds, with a rounded shape, are normally brown or reddish; its stem has few branches and few leaves, with a green color and a lanceolate shape. Centocchio grows in areas with a temperate climate and is widespread in the northern areas. On the Italian territory, however, it is possible to find this plant in numerous areas, scattered all over the peninsula, which offer sufficient humidity for the growth of the plant; its growth is spontaneous and covers very large spaces, growing more in width than in height, so much so that it is considered a problem as it slows down the growth of other types of garden plants. Most people consider Centocchio exclusively as food for larvae, chickens and geese, underestimating its numerous properties and its popular uses in the culinary and pharmaceutical fields. As for the kitchen, the plant can be eaten both raw and cooked; its taste is perfect to match with lettuce and tomatoes, as well as to flavor vegetable soups. The medicinal power of the plant, on the other hand, lies above all in the alkaline salts and saponins, terpene glycosides to which an anti-inflammatory and cicatrising power has been recognized.

The substances present in Centocchio

Centocchio, despite being a small and little known plant, contains various substances that are good for the body. Among these, there are the aforementioned saponins, alkaline salts, tannins and vitamins B and C. As mentioned, saponins give the plant primarily an anti-inflammatory and healing effect; moreover, they have an anti-edema action, thus favoring the reduction of edema. These effects have meant that the Centocchio plant was widely used in dermatology. The alkaline salts act on the accumulation of acid waste produced by the metabolism following stress and poor diet. The tannins are substances contained in numerous plant extracts, in addition to that of Centocchio; the beneficial effects of tannins are antibacterial, antifungal, antidiarrheal, vasoconstrictor and healing. Thanks to its numerous effects, tannin is widely used in pharmacology. Finally, Centocchio contains vitamins B and C, both essential for the body. Vitamins B are involved in the proper functioning of the nervous and gastrointestinal system; moreover, they favor the maintenance of muscle tone, the good functioning of the liver, protect the scalp and the skin, act on the metabolism, transforming carbohydrates into glucose, so as to ensure the body the energy it needs. As for vitamin C, it has first of all an antioxidant power. Its action, however, extends to protecting the immune system and collagen synthesis which has important effects in strengthening muscles and bones, as well as in protecting the skin.

Beneficial effects of Centocchio

Thanks to all the substances contained in it, the plant of Centocchio has known an extensive use with regard to the care of health and beauty already in the sixteenth century. In the past, its use stopped, however, with that for the treatment of inflammation, especially skin. Over time, Centocchio and its properties have become increasingly popular and they have come to create pills, lotions, tinctures and creams with the extract of this rich plant. For therapeutic purposes, Centocchio-based preparations can serve not only with an anti-inflammatory effect. In fact, they are useful for treating infections and eye irritations, for treating gastrointestinal functions and increasing metabolism, for treating respiratory diseases such as coughs, bronchitis and phlegm. These are just some of its beneficial effects. It should not be forgotten, in fact, that Centocchio also has a diuretic effect, helps to get rid of toxins and, at the same time, protects the body from free radicals. Finally, Centocchio based creams are excellent for beauty care thanks to their toning, purifying and restorative effect.

Centocchio: Centocchio home use

Using Centocchio and taking advantage of its benefits is easy, just go to herbal medicine and buy some dried leaves of the plant. Having the plant available, it will be easy to prepare infusions and other do-it-yourself remedies. To counter a cold and cough, for example, just prepare an infusion by combining 250 ml of boiling water with two teaspoons of dried Centocchio leaves; after about 10 minutes, when the leaves have released the substances they contain in water, it will be necessary to filter the liquid. Once ready, the infusion will be an excellent ally to counteract the phlegm if drunk a couple of times a day. For skin care, however, the best solution is to immerse yourself in a warm bath enriched with 100 ml of infusion obtained with six teaspoons of leaves. To combat the redness of the skin it is useful to associate the properties of the plant with those of the cucumber: mixing the fresh Centocchio juice with the cucumber juice and with a dash of milk, an excellent decongestant will be obtained.