Gentian Herb

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Gentiana lutea L. Stemless gentian is derived from G.acaulis L.
Family: Gentianaceae

COMMON NAME(S): Gentian, stemless gentian, yellow gentian, bitter root, pale , olltian, gall weed

Gentian ( Gentiana ) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Gentian family ( Gentianaceae ), tribe Gentianeae and monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae. This a large genus, with about 400 species.

In medieval times, gentian was used in an alchemic brew theriac, a cure-all made to a highly secret recipe. Gentiana lutea is the most commonly used species in Europe. The part of the herb used is the root. It is traditionally used as a bitter digestive stimulant, the root is effective for conditions involving poor appetite or sluggish digestion


Gentians have been used to stimulate the appetite,improve digestion and treat gastrointestinal problems. Gentian and stemless gentian are approved for food use. Stemless gentian is used as a tea or alcoholic extract such as Angostura bitters. Extracts are used in foods, cosmetics, and anti smoking products. The plant has been used externally to treat wounds and internally to treat sore throat, arthritic inflammations, and jaundice.

Botany :- Native to Europe and western Asia, G. lutea, a perennial herb with erect stems and oval leaves, grows to 1.8 m in height. The plant produces a cluster of fragrant orange-yellow flowers. G. acaulis is a small herb with a basal rosette of lance-shaped leaves and grows to 10 cm in height. It is native to the European Alps at 900 to 1500 m above sea level. The roots and rhizomes are nearly cylindrical, sometimes branched, varying in thickness from 5 to 40 mm The root and rhizome portions are longitudinally wrinkled. The color of the rhizomes, ranging from dark brown to light tan, appears to be related to its bitter principal content.The roots and rhizome of G. lutea are used medicinally, whereas the entire plant of G. acaulis is used.

Uses of Gentian

Gentian is used to stimulate the appetite, improve digestion, and treat gastrointestinal complaints. It has also been used to treat wounds, sore throat, arthritic inflammations, and jaundice.

Recently, gelatin has entered the nutritional supplement marketplace for use in bone and joint health. The gelatin peptides are rich in the amino acids found in collagen, including L-proline, L-hydroxyproline, and glycine.

Side Effects of Gentian

The extract may cause gastric irritation and not be tolerated by pregnant women or those with hypertension.


Gelatin (hydrolysates) is available in powder form, usually in combination with other supplements, such as vitamin C and calcium. Gelatin hydrolysates are also available in capsules, usually in combination with other supplements such as glucosamine, curcumin, chondroitin sulfate, and willow bark. An average dose of a gelatin supplement is 10 grams daily.


Usually, the extract is taken in small doses that do not cause adverse effects. One author suggested that gentian may not be well tolerated in hypertension or pregnancy. The extract may cause gastric irritation, resulting in nausea and vomiting.

The highly toxic white hellebore (Veratrum album L.) often grows in close proximity to gentian. At least 5 cases of acute veratrum alkaloid poisoning have been reported in people preparing homemade gentian wine that is accidentally contaminated by veratrum.

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