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Gentian

General Information

Gentian is a flowering plant with over 400 species that can be found worldwide, including Europe, Asia, North and South America, and New Zealand. Only the species Gentiana lutea L. is used for its medicinal properties.

Common Name(s)

gentian, yellow gentian, bitter root, geneciana, bitterwort

Scientific Name(s)

Gentiana lutea L. (Gentianaceae)

Scientific Name(s)

The bitter root of gentian is used to make supplements that are taken orallyorallyto be taken by mouth (swallowed). Gentian is available as dried root, fluid extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredients, tincturetincturea desired active ingredient that is extracted from alcoholic solutions, infusioninfusionthe process of steeping or soaking plant material in hot or cold water to isolate its active ingredients, or solid extracts.

The usual dose ranges from 0.1 g to 6 g per day of dried root. You should take gentian 15 to 60 minutes before meals.

What is this product used for?

There is not enough research to suggest that gentian is helpful for the uses listed above. Research suggests that gentian may help with digestion by increasing bile flow and gastric acid secretion, but there is not enough evidence from well-designed studies to confirm this. Many of the studies showing the effectiveness of gentian have limitations due to the methods used.

Gentian is generally well tolerated with few side effects when used in recommended amounts. However, some people may experience headaches.

Do not use gentian if you have a stomach or duodenal ulcer, or stomach irritation or inflammation.

If you have high blood pressure, talk to your health care provider before taking gentian.

Contact your health care provider if your symptoms persist or worsen.

You should not use gentian if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

What else should I be aware of?

There is not enough research to suggest that gentian is helpful for the uses listed in "What is gentian used for?" Research suggests that gentian may help with digestion by increasing bile flow and gastric acid secretion, but there is not enough evidence from well-designed studies to confirm this. Many of the studies showing the effectiveness of gentian have limitations due to the methods used.

Gentian is generally well tolerated with few side effects when used in recommended amounts.

If you have high blood pressure, talk to your health care provider before taking gentian.

Contact your health care provider if your symptoms persist or worsen.

You should not use gentian if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

  1. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products database. Gentian. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=98 (Accessed May 24, 2016)
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica. Gentian. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/229319/gentian (Accessed May 24, 2016)
  3. Natural Database. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Gentian. (Accessed May 24, 2016)

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