Gentian is a tall, attractive perennial plant native to the mountainous areas of central and southern Europe. It may grow up to 140 cm (55 in) high with a single stem (no branches) from which long bluish-green leaves emanate in opposite pairs. On the upper section of the plant these turn into saucer-shaped subtending leaves from which the long stemmed flowers appear. In early autumn or fall the root of the gentian plant is dug up and dried (4) (5).
The most common medicinal uses for gentian include treating digestive orders such as loss of appetite, fullness and flatulence. It is however used for a variety of other purposes, such as reducing fever, eradicating parasitic worms and as a general tonic (roborant) (1) (2) (3).
Root extracts of gentian have antifungal activity, are anti-inflammatory, and have immunostimulating activities (6).
- Blumenthal M, et. al. ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council, 1998.
- Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler’s Honest Herbal: A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herbs and Related Remedies. Fourth Edition. New York: The Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.
- Jellin JM, Batz F, Hitchens K. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Third Edition. Stockton, California: Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2000.
- Chevallier A. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Revised Edition. Sydney, Australia: Dorling Kindersley. 2001.
- Dorfler HP, Roselt G. The Dictionary of Healing Plants. New York, NY: Blandford Press. 1989.
- Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD, Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. Second Edition. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2002.