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Gentiana lutea is an herbaceous, perennial, alpine plant that has a tall stalk and several star shaped yellow flowers. It is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe. Other names include Yellow Gentian, Bitter Root’, Bitterwort, Centiyane, Genciana and the Devil’s Taint.
Gentian belongs to the Gentianaceae plant family which includes annual or perennial flowering plants that grow worldwide in temperate and alpine regions, especially in Europe and Asia, North and South America, and New Zealand. Gentian is now cultivated in the autumn in Auvergne, a mountainous region in central France because of their protected status, and being endangered they are no longer harvested from the wild.
The species is hermaphrodite having both male and female organs. They are pollinated by hummingbirds, moths, bees, butterflies, bats and flies depending on the type of Gentian. The botanical name, Gentiana, is derived from Gentius, king of ancient Illyria (modern day Bosnia) (180-167 BCE), who discovered its therapeutic values, according to a history written by Pliny the Elder (ca. 23-79 CE).
Gentian’s roots take 7 to 10 growing seasons to mature and have an intensely bitter taste that has been utilized in traditional European herbalism for centuries to help with digestion and other stomach related health issues. Although occasionally used in brewing, until hops was discovered for this purpose, Gentian Root is typically used as an ingredient in herbal bitters and liqueurs. Extracts of Gentian Root can be found in the American soft drink Moxie, and its unique flavour is attributed to that fact.
Taste and energetics of Gentian Root are slightly sweet at first, then extremely bitter with, cold, astringent and stimulating to gastric juices. Gentian Root has an affinity to the liver, gallbladder, digestive system, heart and nervous system. To make a herbal bitter to support digestion combine Gentian with Angelica Root, Orange peel or Wormwood. To support the liver and gallbladder combine Gentian Root with Hops, Centaury and Burdock Root.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Gentian Root to one cup of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day or make tincture and take a few drops before each meal..
How to Make a Gentian Root Tincture:
Fill up glass jar with herb halfway.
Add vodka so that level of the liquid is at least two inches above the herb.
Place parchment paper between the lid and jar.
Seal jar tightly.
Label jar with date, percentage alcohol, herbs and method used.
Shake two times per day for one month.
Strain and store in an amber bottle.
Take 15 to 30 drops two to three times day.
Cautions & contraindications:
Gentian should not be used in patients with ulcers.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.