Gentian - Best Herb for Digestion | Inflammation

Yellow gentian

Gentiana lutea Gentianaceae Also called Great yellow gentian, Bitterwort

This large, upright perennial is commonly found in the Alps and other mountainous areas south of Europe. Yellow gentian's large leaves have five to seven prominent veins on the underside. The plant's showy flowers are a golden yellow and grow at the points where the leaves meet the stem. The thick, wrinkly roots have a bitter taste.

Parts used

  • Roots
  • At the end of summer the roots are collected from wild plants that are preferably 7-10 years old.
  • The roots are washed, cut up and dried in the open air.
  • They are used to make powders, tinctures or extracts that are included in numerous pharmaceutical products such as drinkable solutions, medicinal wines, tablets, capsules and syrups.


The bitter taste of the yellow gentian root is due to secoiridoids, principally amarogentin and also gentiopicroside (from the Greek pikros, meaning bitter). Whenthey are taken internally these substances provoke a reflex action that stimulates salivary and gastric secretions.

Medicinal uses

The substances in yellow gentian stimulate the flow of saliva and gastric juices even in very small amounts. A simple experiment proves it: merely grinding the root will cause one to salivate.

The root is traditionally used to remedy a lack of appetite and has long been an ingredient in aperitif drinks. It acts as a tonic on the whole digestive system, relieving gastric pains and improving sluggish digestion. A clinical study published in 1967 verified yellow gentian's digestive qualities, observing that the herb promoted the secretion of gastric juices.

Yellow gentian is also reputed to lower fevers and treat inflammation


For internal use

TO TREAT gastric pains, sluggish digestion, 1055 of appetite INFUSION Add 0.6-2g of dried root to 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 3 cups a day. DRINKABLE SOLUTIONS, MEDICINAL WINES, SYRUPS Take 1-4 tablespoons before main meals.

TINCTURE Take 2-5 drops with water before eating.



Plant in well-drained, humus-rich soil in a sunny or lightly shaded location.


  • Yellow gentian could cause some side effects, such as headaches, if used in excess of prescribed doses.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use yellow gentian.
  • Individuals with gastroduodenal ulcers or high blood pressure should also avoid yellow gentian.
  • The plant should only be harvested by specialists because there is a danger of confusing it with white veratrum, and also because unsustainable harvesting has made it scarce in some areas.


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