Botanical name: Gentiana lutea
Common name: Gentian (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 553)
Family: Gentianacae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 553)
Part used: Dried rhizome and Root (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 553)
Iridoids: marogentin,genitopicroside and swertiamarin
Xanthones: gentisein, gentisin and isogentisin
Alkaloids: mainly gentianine and gentialutine
Phenolic acids: including gentisic, caffeic, protocatechuic, syringic and sinapic acids
(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 553)
- Appetite stimulant
- Bitter tonic
- Digestive tonic
- Muscle relaxant
(Bryan, Costa, Iovin, Issac, Rapp, Rusie, Ulbricht, Varghese, Weissner, Windsor & Zhou, 2014, pp. 1-2)
Native to the mountains of southern and central Europe, Gentiana lutea has been used medicinally for hundreds of years as a bitter tonic and digestive system stimulant (Bryan et al., 2014, pp. 1-2).
Historical and traditional uses include:
- Antidote to poisons
- Digestive disorders
- Hepatic disease
- Morning sickness
- Sore throat
- Skin ulcers
- Urinary Tract Infection
(Bryan et al., 2014, pp. 1-2)
Amarogentin, one of the most bitter substances known, stimulates gustorary taste buds, increasing the secretion of saliva, gastric juice and bile (Bryan et al., 2014, p. 1)
C grade evidence supports the herbs use in gastrointestinal disorders and the ability for it to act as a silalagogue (Bryan et al., 2014, p. 1).
Preparation & Dosage
Tincture: 2-4mL/tds (1:5 in 40%)
Decoction: 1-2tsp/1 cup water/tds
(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 553)
May not be well tolerated in individuals with high blood pressure (Bryan et al., 2014, p. 4).
Caution to be taken with individuals presenting gastric abnormalities, as secondary sources show incidence of gastric irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea (Bryan et al., 2014, p. 4).
May inhibit agents of antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (Bryan et al., 2014, p. 4)
Known allergy (Bryan et al., 2014, p. 3).
Often combined with other digestives such as Ginger and Cardamon (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 202)
Bryan, J. K., Costa, D., Iovin, R., Issac, R., Rapp, C., Rusie, E., Ulbricht, C., Varghese, M., Weissner, W., Windsor, R., & Zhou, S. (2014). Gentian (Gentiana lutea). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Retrieved from: http://www.naturalstandard.com.ezproxy.think.edu.au/databases/herbssupplements/gentianalutea.asp?
Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester Vermont: Healing Arts Press.
Hoffmann, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons
Image I: Köhler, F. (1897) Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen. Retrieved from: http://pharm1.pharmazie.uni-greifswald.de/allgemei/koehler/koeh-eng.htm
Image II: Singh, M. (2006). GENTIANA LUTEA: Yellow Gentian. Retrieved from: http://www.homeopathyandmore.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=658