Gentiana lutea


Image I


Image II


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)


Active constituents

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)



  • Analgesic
  • Anthelmintic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antifungal
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiseptic
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Bitter tonic
  • Cholagogue
  • Digestive tonic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Muscle relaxant
  • Tonic

(Bryan, Costa, Iovin, Issac, Rapp, Rusie, Ulbricht, Varghese, Weissner, Windsor & Zhou, 2014, pp. 1-2)


Indications (traditional)

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:

  • Amenorrhea
  • Anemia
  • Anorexia
  • Antidote to poisons
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Digestive disorders
  • Dyspepsia
  • Eczema
  • Exhaustion
  • Fever
  • Hepatic disease
  • Indigestion
  • Jaundice
  • Malaria
  • Morning sickness
  • Sore throat
  • Skin ulcers
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Vomiting

(Bryan et al., 2014, pp. 1-2)


Indications (contemporary)

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:

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:

Image II: Singh, M. (2006). GENTIANA LUTEA: Yellow Gentian. Retrieved from:

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