Gentian properties

(Gentiana lutea L.)


Common name: Gentian

Scientific name: Gentiana lutea L.

Family: Gentianaceae

Habitat: Native from southern and eastern Europe, can be found on calcareous mountains from 1000 m. high. Its name derives from "Gentio", King of Illyria, the alleged Adriatic region where the Indo-European language originated. It seems that these people used the plant to reduce fever.

Characteristics of gentian:

Perennial plant of the family gentianaceae up to 120 cm tall. Stems erect, arising from a very vigorous root up to 30 cm in length, brownish white on the inside and outside. Lower leaves much longer than the upper, greenish-yellow with very prominent nerves. Upper leaves without petiole, opposite and pointed. Yellow flowers gathered in whorls. Fruit is a capsule, which contains many seeds.

Harvesting and conservation:

Gentian roots should be collected during the spring or fall, from plants that are at least two years of age. Preparations for liquor should be based on tender roots.

For medicinal preparations, they must be dried in the sun and stored in airtight containers in a cool, dry place. This is protected plant in many places, so it is strictly forbidden to collect it in the wild.


Components of gentian:

- Bitter principles: gentioflavosid, gentiopicroside, amarogenin, swertiamaroside, inulin. (Root)

- Alkaloids: gentianine, gentiamarin and gentialutine. (Root)

- Essential oil: carvacrol, limonene and linalool.

- Acids: ascorbic, caffeic, nicotinic, oxycinamic, gentisic (Root)

- Pigments: gentiosin, gentisin and isogentisin. (Root)

- Minerals: aluminum, calcium, chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium (Root)

- Fiber: Pectin (Root)

- Vitamins: Vitamin C, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin (Vitamin B3) and thiamin (Vitamin B1) (Root)

- Carbohydrates: sucrose, dextrose, gentianose (Root)

- Proteins (Root)



A plant for the diseases of the stomach and the digestive system

Gentian is one of the best remedies for stomach problems. Because of the bitter principles contained in this plant, gentian has the ability to increase production of digestive juices so that it whets the appetite and aids digestion.

The main component responsible for this property is amarogentin, an active ingredient which increases production of saliva which triggers an increased production of bile and gastric juices. Gentiopicroside and inulin have gastro-stimulant properties, while the swertiamarin stimulates the pancreas.

Therefore this plant is used in the following digestive anomalies:

- Loss of appetite: Loss of appetite, caused by various reasons (personal problems, body weakness, anorexia, etc.) can be relieved by the ingestion of powdered root macerated in cold water for 4 or 5 hours. (Macerate 15 g of dried flowers and 15 gr. of bitter orange peel in a litter of white wine for 10 days. Filter and drink a little cup before meals)

- Flatulence: The excess of gas, usually caused by poor digestion, can be alleviated by the ingestion of this plant. (maceration of 1.5 gr. of dry powder per cup of water for 4 hours. Take a couple of cups day)

- Stomach: In "lazy"stomachs gentian helps stimulate digestion, making it a more favorable and faster process, while avoiding the cumbersome problems posed by indigestion. (Maceration of 0.5% over 4 hours of gentian root in cold water. Take a couple of cups a day before meals) Gentian stomach also has tonic properties. The increase of gastric acid produced by its bitter principles (amarogentin, gentiopicroside and inulin) promote digestion. You can also use gentian wine (See gentian wine recipe)

- Liver: Gentian can be used for liver failure in helping the body to work under better conditions. All this will not only help better achieve the digestive processes but to prevent other symptoms such as jaundice, liquid accumulation or liquid retention, fatigue, etc. (Maceration at 0, 2% of gentian root for a couple of days. Drain well and dissolve 400 gr. of honey. Drink a couple of little cups a day)

- Intestinal Worms: The carvacrol content of gentian gives it vermifuge properties making it suitable for expelling intestinal worms.

Gentian: A remedy for gastritis and ulcer?

Some experts suggest that the bitter principles of gentian, used with ginger and liquorice, can be useful for the treatment of gastritis and ulcers. But others warn that these principles, because they increase gastric acid and bile content, can worsen the inflammation of the stomach or ulcers and that this plant should never be used when the patient has heartburn, caused by hyperchlorhydria, inflammation or ulceration of the stomach. According to them, when in doubt, it is better to resort to other safer plants.

A plant to increase bile production

Gentian has the power to act on the gallbladder and liver, being able to increase production of bile. This property can be used in cases where there an insufficient bile production is the main cause of of indigestion. (Maceration at 0, 2% of gentian root for a couple of days. Drain well and dissolve 400 gr. of Honey. Drink a couple of little cups a day)

Gentian picture

Gentian for the treatment of hypothyroidism

Gentian has components that help stimulate the production of the thyroid hormones, so its use is recommended in the treatment of hypothyroidism (Maceration at 0, 2% of gentian root for a couple of days. Drain well and dissolve 400 gr. of honey. Drink a couple of little cups a day)

A plant to invigorate the body, purify the blood and help prevent or overcome infection.

In situations of physical weakness, during convalescence from illness, gentian helps overcome the lack of energy because it is a good tonic that restores the strength of the body. In addition to the digestive tonic properties, gentian is also a general tonic. (Maceration 0.5% for 4 hours in cold water. Drink two little cups half an hour before two main meals)

Gentian possesses leucocinogenic properties, that's to say, it can increase the production of white blood cells, which strengthens the immune system and helps prevent the emergence of new contagious diseases or facilitates their healing.

As a blood cleanser, gentian is used to remove toxins and impurities from the bloodstream. (Infusion of half a teaspoon of dried root in a cup of water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Take two cups per day)

There is evidence that this plant has antibiotic properties so it can be used to treat bacterial-type diseases such as ear infections or otitis, bronchitis, etc. (Sprinkle gentian root powder on a toast sweeted with honey or jam. Take two or three toasts a day. Spread a powdered gentian teaspoonful among the two or three toasts)

A plant to reduce fever

Gentian has been used as a substitute for quinine to treat fever. (Decoction of half a teaspoon of dried root per cup of water. A couple of cups a day)

Gentian flower


- Baldness: Due to its high zinc content, gentian becomes part of the composition of many preparations to prevent hair loss. This same component can help prevent the onset of dandruff.

- Psoriasis: Used externally gentian possesses vulnerary properties, being able to avoid the scaling that occurs in skin diseases like psoriasis. (Infusion of 20 gr. of dried root per liter of water. Let stand for fifteen minutes and apply on the affected area when the water is still warm)

Other applications:

- Gentian bitter liquors: Gentian is one of many prepared in many regions of the world in the preparation of bitters. (Detailed information on gentian liquors in the listing above)

- Antidote against poisons: During the Middle Ages, this plant was used as an antidote for poisoning.

- Manufacture of beer: Before the discovery of hops, gentian was used as a flavoring in the industry of beer production.

Contraindications and toxicity of gentian

- The use of this plant is discouraged in patients with gastritis or peptic ulcer.

- High doses of this plant can cause vomiting, indigestion or headache.

- Not for use with children under 2 years old.

- In case of pregnancy or hypertension, only when prescribed by a physician.

punto rojo More information on gentian in the listing above

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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.