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Gentian Yellow

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  • Botanical: Gentiana lutea
  • Family: Gentianaceae
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Gentian Yellow

Botanical

Gentiana lutea

Family

Gentianaceae

Known as

Gentian Yellow, Great Yellow Gentian, Gentiana lutea, Anzianwurzel, Bergfieberwurzel, Bitterwurzel, Butterwurz, Darmwurzen, Gelbsuchtwurzen, Halunkenwurz, Istrianswurzel, Jänzene, Jäuse, Sauwurz, Zergang, Zinzalwurz, Gentianae radix,

Old Use

culinary

Collection Times

July to august

Parts Used

roots

Medicinal

anorexia, bowel cleansing, bladder disease, bladder stones, bladder weakness, bile weakness, colds, constipation, cramps stomach, digestion, dizziness, fever, gastrointestinal, heartburn, liver weakness, indigestion, intestinal parasites, menstruation promotion, rheumatism, ulcers, varicose veins, weakness, gastric acidity

Mind & Nerves

anorexia, loss of appetite

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, bowel cleansing, bladder disease, bladder stones, bladder weakness, bile weakness, digestion, gastrointestinal, gastric acidity, gastric inflammation, intestinal parasites, ulcers

Properties

antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, cholagogue, cooling, emmenagogue, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic, tonic

Description

The root is long and thick, generally about a foot long and an inch in diameter, but sometimes even a yard or more long and 2 inches in diameter, of a yellowish-brown colour and a very bitter taste.

The stem grows 3 or 4 feet high or more, with a pair of leaves opposite to one another, at each joint. The lowest leaves have short foot-stalks, but the upper ones are stalkless, their bases almost embracing the stem.

They are yellowish-green in colour, oblong in shape and pointed, rather stiff, with five prominent veins on the underside, and diminish gradually in size as they grow up the stem. The large flowers are in whorls in the axils of the uppermost few pairs of leaves, forming big orange-yellow clusters.

The corollas are wheel-shaped, usually five-cleft, 2 inches across, sometimes marked with rows of small brown spots, giving a red tinge to the otherwise deep yellow. Seeds in abundance are produced by strong plants, and stock is easily raised from them.

Properties & Uses

Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant and stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root, which can be as thick as a person's arm and has few branches, is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Gentiana lutea as a tonic 

Cautions

Contraindicated with gastric or duodenal ulcer patients. Possible headaches, nausea and vomiting

Distribution

Central and South Europe.

Constituents

Bitter, tannin, tannic acid, gentianose, Gentiopikrin, inulin, mucilage, zinc