Categories: Roots

5 Benefits of gentian root and side effects

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Discover the 5 shocking health benefits of gentian root and side effects.

Gentian root (Gentiana lutea) is a bitter herb that has been used in traditional systems of medicine practiced throughout Europe for over two thousand years.

The benefits of gentian root besides working perfectly as a liver tonic and digestive aid also has a long history of use in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

What is gentian root used for today? Many of the original applications of this herb remain, such as the treatment of indigestion, liver dysfunction, and fatigue.

Among its many active compounds are gentiopicroside and amelogenin, a characteristic bitter compound that binds to bitter taste receptors in the mouth.

Like other bitter herbs and foods, herbalists commonly use the taste and quality of gentian to support digestive health as it helps stimulate bile, increase the attractiveness of foods, and detoxify the liver, gallbladder, and liver. other organs.


Other gentian benefits include fighting inflammation, supporting the nervous system, increasing stamina, and aiding in heart health.

5 shocking health benefits of gentian root


Benefits of gentian root

While it has been used safely and effectively for thousands of years, there are no human clinical studies involving this herb.

The FDA does not regulate the sales of this herb (or other herbal supplements), and few trials have been conducted to demonstrate its efficacy; That being said, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence showing it has real uses and benefits.

1.- Helps improve digestive, liver, and gallbladder function

One of the most popular uses for this herb centuries ago and is still improving several facets of digestive health today.

Gentian herb has traditionally been used as a ‘gastric stimulant’ due to the effects it has on the excretion of saliva, bile, and enzymes, there is some evidence that it can stimulate the secretion of enzymes in the small intestine and increase gastric secretion, which facilitates the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients. Some of the purported benefits of gentian root for digestion include.


• Reducing loss of appetite

• Decreased nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and general aches

• Improving saliva production by stimulating the membranes of the mouth and taste buds

• Helps with the production of gastric juices and bile secretion

• Support for liver and gallbladder functions

For centuries, gentian root has been known as a liver tonic and advocate for detoxification, as evidenced by its strong bitter taste.


Gout, jaundice, dyspepsia, and dysentery are some other conditions that are used to naturally treat treatment.

According to tradition, gentian taken with rhubarb is most effective in improving digestive symptoms, such as loss of appetite and nausea.

One study found giving patients 600 milligrams of gentian root a day helped relieve symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, heartburn, flatulence, constipation, loss of appetite, and vomiting.

To support the general health of the liver, it is recommended to use it in conjunction with other liver purifiers such as dandelion root.

Dandelion root is often powdered and roasted to use as a coffee substitute or added raw to herbal teas, both the root and leaves of the dandelion have been shown to protect the liver, reduce cholesterol, and triglycerides, fight bacteria and maintain eye health.

2.- Helps fight oxidative stress and chronic disease

Like other nutrient-dense herbs, gentian has antioxidant properties that help protect cells from free radical damage (also called oxidative stress).


Its active compounds (more on these below) are also beneficial in protecting against infection and reducing damage to the smaller arteries and blood vessels.

Gentian root beneficial compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that appear to benefit the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.

For example, isovitexin has been a natural antiatherosclerotic agent that protects vascular smooth muscle tissue and increases cellular nitric oxide activity; This is beneficial for the prevention and treatment of arteriosclerosis or hardening/thickening of the arteries; it also has blood-pressure-lowering effects.

There is preliminary evidence that components, including secoiridoid, iridoid glycosides, gentiopicroside, xanthones, polyphenols, and flavone, may help defend against cancer due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects.

3.- It can help reduce inflammation and pain

What are the benefits of gentian root if you have chronic pain? The active compounds found within this herb have been shown to fight inflammation and positively modulate pain pathways in the brain to decrease discomfort.

It can help reduce antibodies and autoimmune reactions that can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and weakness.


Gentian can also dilate blood vessels and help improve circulation, facilitating healing; This is why it is sometimes used to treat migraines, menstrual cramps, stomachaches, muscle spasms, and more.

Additionally, a compound in the gentian called erythrosine has been shown to have sedative and muscle relaxant effects, reducing spasms and cramps; Gentian root benefits can help reduce high blood pressure and lower heart rate in response to pain or stress.

4.- Helps treat wounds and infections (including sinus infections)

Gentian is applied to the skin to treat various types of wounds and fungal infections, it has been shown to kill harmful bacteria and improve blood flow to wounds or damaged tissues.

Several studies have found that it has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Gentian is combined with other immune-boosting herbs (including elderberry/elderflower, verbena, and sorrel) in a formula called Sinupret, which research studies have shown to help treat symptoms of sinus infection ( sinusitis).

The compounds in this herb can also help inhibit bacteria that can cause other infections; In addition to fighting bacteria, gentian has also been shown to help decrease fungal and yeast infections, such as those caused by Candida albicans.


5.- Supports the Nervous System

The benefits of gentian root seem to support the central nervous system by helping to relax muscle tension and act as a natural sedative, but at the same time, it also helps fight fatigue.

In animal studies, the secoiridoid compounds found in gentian, such as gentiopicroside, swertiamarine, and sweroside, have been shown to increase endurance and decrease muscle fatigue.

Another herb that gentian can be used in combination with the nervous system is the adaptogen called licorice root, which has been used for centuries to treat fatigue, stress-related symptoms, coughs and colds, gastrointestinal problems, and reproductive problems.

Licorice root can help gentian to be more effective. It is often used in Chinese medicine as a “guide medicine,” helping to improve other herbs and remedies to make them more beneficial.

Gentian Nutrition Facts

An analysis found that the most active components found within gentian root benefits include:


• Gentiopicroside (the most dominant compound)

• Loganic Acid

• Swertiamarin

• Other xanthone glycosides, including gentisin, isogentisine, amelogenin, and gentiopicrin

Gentiopicroside, one of the most extensively investigated Secoiridoid compounds isolated from Gentiana lutea, has been shown to have benefits in animals, such as fighting inflammation and reducing pain; it is believed to have analgesic effects due to the way it affects pain-induced synaptic pathways in the brain; it also has anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective and antiparasitic effects.

Additionally, certain studies have found gentianine to have antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, sedative-hypnotic, and diuretic effects.


Amarogentine is a compound found in this herb that contributes to its bitter taste. Like other bitter herbs and foods (such as coffee or dandelion root), it has a strong gastric effect by stimulating the production of digestive fluids.

Isogentisine is another compound that has been associated with the prevention of endothelial injuries, such as smoking.

In one study, when 22 natural alpine plant extracts were tested for their potential to protect human vascular endothelial cells from cigarette smoke-induced cell damage, Gentiana lutea extracts were shown to be the most effective; Research suggests that isogentisine promotes cell survival by activating cell repair functions.

Side Effects of Gentian Root

Gentian root can sometimes be irritating to the digestive system in people with gastrointestinal conditions, including ulcers.

Taking the root can also lower blood pressure and affect blood sugar (glucose), which can lead to weakness and fainting, so it is recommended to speak with a doctor first if you take medications to control blood and blood pressure.

This herb is generally considered safe, however, cases of gentian poisoning have been reported when people have used the herb to make their wines/spirits and tonics.


Possible side effects that may occur include stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, skin irritation, and increased acidity in the stomach.

If you experience gentian side effects, stop using the product immediately and speak to a doctor if you don’t feel better in a day or two.

What is gentian used for in traditional medicine systems?

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the gentian root is called Long Dan Cao. Its most common use is to treat liver-related diseases and support detoxification; It is one of the three main natural flowers of China (the other two are azaleas and primulas); he sees it as a cold and bitter scent (which removes heat and moisture), which helps the liver and gallbladder.

Some of the main uses of gentian in TCM include treating jaundice, vaginal swelling and itching, vaginal discharge, persistent erection, itching due to eczema, red eyes, deafness, and hypochondriacal pain.

In TCM, it is commonly taken with other healing herbs; it also helps reduce inflammation, provides relief from spasms, stimulates blood flow in the digestive and pelvic region, promotes menstruation, and helps eliminate headaches, fatigue, and fever; It can be found in the form of tea, liquid extract, tincture, capsule, or raw root extract.

It can be used to make tonics in combination with gentian, valerian root, and passionflower.


Gentian “medicine” is also revered in Ayurveda, as are many other bitter herbs; It is considered to be a “cleanser” due to its very bitter taste, it helps cleanse the liver and stimulates digestive secretions.

It is also used for its anti-inflammatory effects and as a natural remedy for the treatment of sinus infections; often substitutes bitter gentian for other comparable bitters, such as chiretta or kutki.

These bitter herbs are said to cleanse the mind and prepare the body for eating; Ayurvedic practitioners generally recommend consuming between one and two grams per meal and paying attention to the bitter taste for the best effects.

What is gentian?

It is a bitter herb from the Gentianaceae plant family that is native to the Alpine and Himalayan mountain regions.

It has a long history of use in medicinal herbs, especially to treat stomach ailments, liver disease, and aid with digestion. Today, it is most widely grown in Europe, China, and parts of North America.

What does the name gentian mean?

The herb is said to be named after the Illyrian king named Gentius (lily was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula that was conquered by the Romans around 160 BC). Records show that Gentius was one of the first to discover the medicinal properties of the plant and use it to create healing tonics.


There are more than 400 different species in the Gentianaceae family, and at least several species in the Gentiana genus are used in herbal medicine, including Gentiana lutea, Gentiana manshurica Kitag, Gentiana scabra Bunge, Gentiana triflora pall, and Gentiana iridescent Franch.

There are also many alternative names to which gentian is sold based on the specific formula and genus, including yellow gentian, Chinese gentian root, gentian root, bitter root, pale gentian, felwort, and radix gentian are.

What can you use gentian for?

Historically, it has been used to treat:

• Hepatic injury

• Stomach and digestive problems, such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, gas, bloating, heartburn, and nausea

• Migraines


• Sinus infections

• Period pains

• Chronic fatigue and weakness

• Scalp eczema

• High blood pressure

• Parasites


• Psoriasis

• Hair loss

• Jaundice

• Gout

• Hepatitis

• Candida


• Food allergies and intolerances

• Poor child growth and development

Where to buy gentian root:

• Gentian root is used to make concentrated (bitters) extracts, teas, tonics, liqueurs, powders, capsules, and tinctures. It is most commonly taken in capsule form, but it is also used in herbal teas and as an alcoholic extract called Angostura bitters.

• The part of the plant that is normally used medicinally is the dried, mature root of the plant. Some supplements, teas, and tonics may also include other parts of the herb, such as the stem or leaves.

• Gentian supplements are available at some health food stores, online, and by working with a trained herbalist.

• Always read product labels carefully and look for a reputable supplement brand that lists active ingredients on the label. The most widely available type of gentian supplement is the root of the species Gentiana lutea.


• To increase digestion and liver health, look for combination products that include gentian in addition to other beneficial herbs, such as licorice root or rhubarb extract.

How to use gentian:

• Take it about 20 minutes before each meal to help with digestion.

• While it’s likely to be used safely for several months, most herbalists recommend taking this herb for about two to three weeks at a time before taking a break (especially if you’re taking high doses).

• If you are making your formula, you need to clean, dry, and root (or buy dry powder) first. Be very careful not to use the highly toxic white hellebore, which can be misidentified as gentian and be poisonous


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