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Gentian, bitterroot, bitterwort, gentian root, yellow gentian, pale gentian, felwort
Gentian contains some of the most bitter substances known, particularly the glycosides gentiopicrin and amarogentin. The taste of these can be detected even when diluted 50,000 times.
Besides stimulating secretion of saliva in the mouth and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, gentiopicrin may protect the liver.
Gentian root and other highly bitter plants have been used for centuries in Europe as digestive aids (the well-known Swedish bitters often contain gentian).
Other folk uses included topical use on skin tumors, decreasing fevers, and treatment of diarrhea. Its ability to increase digestive function, including production of stomach acid, has since been validated in modern times.
Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:
Stomachic, tonic, anthelmintic, antibilious
Purifies blood, good for liver complaints, dysentery, jaundice, excellent for spleen, improves appetite an strengthen digestive organs. Also used for gastritis, indigestion, heartburn, stomach aches; it increases circulation, benefit the female organs, and invigorates the entire system.
Useful for fevers, colds, gout, convulsions, scrofula, and dyspepsia as well as for suppressed menstruation and scanty urine.
Gentian is one of the most useful of our bitter vegetable tonics. It is specially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of general debility, weakness of the digestive organs and want of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative to prevent its debilitating effects. Many dyspeptic complaints are more effectually relieved by Gentian bitters than by Peruvian Bark. It is of extreme value in jaundice and is prescribed extensively.
Besides being unrivalled as a stomachic tonic, Gentian possesses febrifuge, emmenagogue, anthelmintic and antiseptic properties, and is also useful in hysteria, female weakness, etc. Gentian with equal parts of Tormentil or galls has been used with success for curing intermittent fever.As a simple bitter, Gentian is considered more palatable combined with an aromatic, and for this purpose orange peel is frequently used.
Up to 20 drops of gentian tincture dissolved in a small glass of water should be sipped, at least fifteen minutes before meals.
Gentian should not be used by people suffering from excessive stomach acid, heartburn, stomach ulcers, or gastritis.
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