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Gentian

Gentian

Uses

Common names:
Yellow Gentian
Botanical names:
Gentiana lutea

Parts Used & Where Grown

Gentian originally comes from meadows in Europe and Turkey. However, it is now also cultivated in North America. The root is used in herbal medicine.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
Refer to label instructions
Gentian is a bitter herb thought to stimulate digestion by increasing saliva production and promoting stomach acid and digestive enzyme production.

Bitter herbs are thought to stimulate digestive function by increasing saliva production and promoting both stomach acid and digestive enzyme production.6 As a result, they are particularly used when there is low stomach acid but not in heartburn (where too much stomach acid could initially exacerbate the situation). These herbs literally taste bitter. Some examples of bitter herbs include greater celandine , wormwood , gentian, dandelion , blessed thistle , yarrow , devil’s claw , bitter orange, bitter melon , juniper , andrographis , prickly ash , and centaury .7. Bitters are generally taken either by mixing 1–3 ml tincture into water and sipping slowly 10–30 minutes before eating, or by making tea, which is also sipped slowly before eating.

1 Star
Poor Digestion
Refer to label instructions
Gentian root and other highly bitter plants have been used for centuries by herbalists in Europe as digestive aids, and it is still used to treat poor appetite and indigestion. (Caution: Gentian should not be used by people suffering from excessive stomach acid, heartburn, peptic ulcer disease, or gastritis.)
Gentian root and other highly bitter plants have been used for centuries by herbalists in Europe as digestive aids (the well-known Swedish bitters often contain gentian). Gentian is still used to treat poor appetite and indigestion.8 An open study shows that gentian tincture inhibits the feeling of fullness after eating, suggesting it could improve poor appetite.9 However, gentian should not be used by people suffering from excessive stomach acid, heartburn, peptic ulcer disease, or gastritis.10
1 Star
Sinusitis (Elder Flower, Primrose Flowers, Sorrel, Vervain)
Refer to label instructions
An herbal combination of gentian root, primrose flowers, sorrel herb, elder flowers, and European vervain has been found to help promote mucus drainage from the sinuses.

One of the most popular supportive treatments for both acute and chronic sinusitis in Germany is an herbal combination containing gentian root, primrose flowers, sorrel herb, elder flowers, and European vervain .11 The combination has been found to be useful in helping to promote mucus drainage (“mucolytic” action) from the sinuses.12 The combination is typically used together with antibiotics for treating acute sinusitis.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Gentian root and other highly bitter plants have been used for centuries by herbalists in Europe as digestive aids (the well-known Swedish bitters often contain gentian). Other folk uses included topical application on skin tumors, decreasing fevers, and treatment of diarrhea .1

Active constituents: Gentian contains bitter substances such as the glycosides gentiopicrin and amarogentin. The bitter taste of these can be detected even when diluted 50,000 times.2 Besides stimulating secretion of saliva in the mouth and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, gentiopicrin may protect the liver.3 Gentian is used to treat poor appetite and indigestion .4 An open study shows that gentian tincture inhibits the feeling of fullness after eating, suggesting it could improve poor appetite.5

How It Works

Common names:
Yellow Gentian
Botanical names:
Gentiana lutea

How to Use It

Tincture can be taken 20 minutes before each meal, for a total of 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (1–3 ml) daily. Alternatively, whole root, 1/2–3/4 teaspoon (2–4 grams) per day, can be used. Since capsules of the herb bypass the taste buds, they may not have the same effect as other dosage methods.

Interactions

Common names:
Yellow Gentian
Botanical names:
Gentiana lutea

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Common names:
Yellow Gentian
Botanical names:
Gentiana lutea

Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.

References

1. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 207-8.

2. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 40-2.

3. Kondo Y, Takano F, Hojo H. Suppression of chemically and immunologically induced hepatic injuries by gentiopicroside in mice. Planta Med 1994;60:414-6.

4. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine, 3rd ed. Berlin: Springer, 1988, 171.

5. Goetzl FR. Bitter tonics. I. Influence upon olfactory acuity and appetite. Drug Standards 1956;24:101-10.

6. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed, Berlin: Springer, 1998, 168-73.

7. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425-6.

8. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine, 3rd ed. Berlin: Springer, 1988, 171.

9. Goetzl FR. Bitter tonics. I. Influence upon olfactory acuity and appetite. Drug Standards 1956;24:101-10.

10. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 135.

11. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1998, 163-4.

12. März RW, Ismail C, Popp MA. Action profile and efficacy of a herbal combination preparation for the treatment of sinusitis. Wien Med Wschr 1999;149:202-8.

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