Gentian: (Gentiana lutea) This plant
comes from meadows in Europe and Turkey. It is also cultivated in North
America. The root is used medicinally.
Gentian root and other highly
bitter plants have been used for centuries in Europe as digestive aids (the
well-known Swedish bitters often contain gentian). Other folk uses included
topical use on skin tumors, decreasing fevers, and treatment of diarrhea. Its
ability to increase digestive function, including production of stomach acid,
has been validated in modern times.
Gentian contains some of the
most bitter substances known, particularly the glycosides gentiopicrin and
amarogentin. The taste of these can be detected even when diluted 50,000 times.
Besides stimulating secretion of saliva in the mouth and hydrochloric acid in
the stomach, gentiopicrin may protect the liver. It is considered useful for
poor appetite and indigestion according to the German governments
Commission E monograph.
Gentian can be taken as a
tincture (13 grams daily), as a fluid extract (24 grams daily), or
as the whole root (24 grams daily).
Gentian should not be used by
people suffering from excessive stomach acid, heartburn, stomach ulcers, or
At the time of writing, there
were no well-known drug interactions with Gentian.
Index of Herbs
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