Gentian Acease                                                                         Ggentiana Lutea

Other Names - Bitter root, bitterwort, gentian root, pale gentian, yellow gentian

Descriptian - This largest member of the diverse gentian family is native to the Alps and other mountainous regions of central and southern Europe from Spain to the Balkans, flourishing at altitudes of2,300-8,000 ft (700-2,400 m). The large root crowns can be split, or, alternatively, the plant can be readily grown from seed. Gentian needs a loamy soil and a sheltered position. The root is dug up in early autumn and dried as quickly as possible.

Pharmacology - Glycosides known as amarogentin and gentiopicrin are primarily responsible for the bitter taste of gentian. In addition, the plant contains several alkaloids (mainly gentianine and gentialutine), xanthones, triterpenes, and sugars.

Medicinal Uses - Gentian is also said to be useful as a febrifuge (reduces fever), emmenagogue (stimulates the menstrual flow), anthelmintic (expels intestinal worms), and antiseptic.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). Root extracts of gentian have antifungal activity, are anti-inflammatory, and have immunostimulating activities.

Part Used - The rhizome and roots collected in autumn and dried. When fresh, they are yellowish-white externally, but gradually become darker by slow drying. Slow drying is employed to prevent deterioration in colour and to improve the aroma. Occasionally the roots are longitudinally sliced and quickly dried, the drug being then pale in colour and unusually bitter in taste, but this variety is not official.

Preparations and Dosages - Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm (The dose of the fluid extract is 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful in water, three times daily)

Contraindications - Headache, nausea, or vomiting may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor promptly. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence or liver disease. Gentian root is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Gentian should not be used by people suffering from excessive stomach acid, heartburn, stomach ulcers, or gastritis.

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