Gentian or Gentiana lutea L is also known as Yellow Gentian, gall weed or bitter root. This belongs to a large plant family known as Gentianaceae which consists of about 180 species. This herb grows about two meters tall. It also has elliptic leaves with yellow flowers. The roots have strong bitter taste but are commonly used as a medicinal tonic.
Gentian is an incredible herb that grows in the alpine regions of central Europe and provides a wide range of health and medicinal benefits. These herbs are lovely and many people use them to highlight their gardens. Because of its incredible health benefits, they are transported to America and Asia. Both Western and Eastern are using gentian for medicinal purposes.
The roots and berries of gentian are packed with vitamin F, B, inositol as well as other trace elements. These parts of the herb also contain gentiopicrin and amarogentin that produce bitter taste and properties for medical purposes to combat wide range of diseases.
The roots of gentian herb are rich with important minerals such as manganese, sulphur, silicon, iron and zinc which provide antiseptic, antispasmodic, hepatic, blood purifying and anti-inflammatory properties. Gentian has also effective bacteriostatic, cholagogue, anti-helmintic and choloretic properties that stimulate the glandular cells of the digestive organs.
This medicinal herb got its name after one of the known ancient herbal enthusiasts, Gentius – the king of Illyria. According to history, he was one of the first men who used this herb for treating wounds and as an antidote for many types of poisons.
Traditional folk healers used gentian to improve the process of digestion and stimulate the flow of bile, saliva and stomach acids. They also used these herbs as a natural antidote to some types of poisons. It is also one of the effective natural tonics.
The Gentian herb provides relaxing and soothing effect on the nervous system which can calm people suffering from constant worry, hysteria, shock and other stimulated illnesses. It was also found during the ancient times that Gentian herbs can treat syndromes like Pudic eczema, Puritus vulvae and Leukorrhagia.
These herbs were also useful when combined with other herbs to clear dampness and heat attributes. When gentian is used with Bupleurum Root and Longdan Xiegan Tang, this can treat headaches, hypochondriac pain, conjunctival congestion and the bitter taste of the mouth. The preparation is like the recipe used in normalizing and cleansing of the gallbladder in treating jaundice.
The gentian herb is also used for treating febrile diseases from excessive heat of the liver. It was also used for infantile convulsion, treatment for endogenic wind and fever.
16 Health Benefits of Gentian
The Gentian herbs have been used since the Ancient times and now it is gaining more popularity as many people are acknowledging the benefits of this herb. It is used as a natural treatment for anorexia as well as exhaustion. It is also believed that gentian herb is effective to improve the whole body system by stimulating the digestive system, circulation, important organs and many glands.
1. Antiseptic and Antispasmodic
Gentian herbs have antiseptic and antispasmodic properties that can relieve muscular cramps of women during menstruation. Because of the antiseptic properties present in this herb, it is also used in treating rashes, bruises and wounds.
2. Healthy Liver
Gentian herbs can also make the liver healthier, stimulate the liver function and assist in regenerating the cells while increasing the flow of bile. This herb is also effective to prevent the growth of viruses that can cause liver malfunction. This was not a surprise for herbalists as this herb has been used since the ancient times to improve digestion and stimulate the appetite.
Gentian herbs can also be mixed with other depurative herbal tinctures for more effective anti-oxidants. This can eliminate harmful chemicals and excess uric acid which can keep the liver and kidney healthy.
Gentian tinctures are also used for treating inflammation, diabetes, intestinal parasites as well as infection of the pancreas. The tincture is diluted in water for gastric and hepatic illnesses. Gentian’s hepatic properties can assist in regenerating hepatic cells that enhances the liver function.
3. Treats Diarrhea
Many people get diarrhea at least once a year. It usually lasts at least two days. Diarrhea is one of the acute problems that may lead to death if not treated right away. The symptoms include cramps, watery stools, nausea and throwing up, bloating, thin and lose stools, and urgent feeling to have a bowel movement.
The serious symptoms include fever, weight loss, mucus or blood in stool. Gentian herb is used to treat diarrhea so it can rescue you right away during the critical time. This herb is effective in preventing diarrhea as well as the symptoms associated with it.
4. Relieves Heartburn
Heartburn is the irritation of the esophagus due to stomach acid. The symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux are chronic cough and chest pain. It creates a burning discomfort in the abdomen and below the breast bone.
There are many factors that can trigger heartburn such as stress, obesity, certain medications and specific foods. Gentian is one of the effective home remedies for the treatment of heartburn. Other ways to treat heartburn is changing lifestyle, diet and medications.
5. Treats Anemia
Anemia is a health condition when one has insufficient levels of iron in the body. Not enough iron decreases the number of red blood cells which means that the blood cannot transport enough oxygen to all organs and tissues.
Gentian assists in stimulating the growth of leucocytes and red blood cells in the body while improving the immune system. Gentian roots are effective in stimulating the digestive system which can make it easier for the body to absorb more iron. It is also important to take foods rich with iron while treating with gentian.
6. Eliminates Muscle Spasms
Spasms may affect different types of muscles which lead to different symptoms. For instance, skeletal muscle spasms are caused by dehydration, over fatigue and electrolyte abnormalities. Spasms can be painful and usually brief and it is the common way of the body telling that the muscle cells need more water, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium and glucose.
Many people also use gentian supplements to treat muscle spasms right away.
7. Prevents Cancer
Consuming the roots of gentian herbs can lower the risk of acquiring cancer cells. Because the gentian root is rich with important antioxidant properties, it can combat free radicals while protecting the healthy cells. There is still a need to conduct more research about the effects of gentian roots for cancer patients.
8. Improves Blood Circulation
Gentian herbs have therapeutic and stimulating effects that can improve blood circulation. People who are too busy with office/school work or those who do not have enough time for a run can benefit from gentian roots for better blood circulation. It can energize the blood and circulate to all parts of your body by strengthening the whole cardiovascular system.
This herb is also used to revitalize tired tissues as many people reported to feel less lethargic after consuming gentian roots.
#9 Treats Fever
Another great benefit of gentian is its effectiveness for treating fever caused by weather changes. It is also effective for treating cough, colds and other related symptoms. It provides the body the required antioxidants and nutrients to combat these issues.
#10 Prevents Hysteria
Hysteria is an uncontrollable emotion or a disorder arises from intense anxiety. A person suffering from hysteria loses control over emotions and is commonly accompanied by seizures of unconsciousness. Symptoms include clenched teeth, severe cramps, swelling of neck, headache, crying or laughing without reason.
The gentian roots are helpful in the treatment of hysteria and can prevent it from occurring which can also improve health condition.
Being constipated means the bowel movements are hard or occurs less than normal. It happens to everyone at least once a year. Some can experience constipated more than three days due to dehydration, certain medications, irritated bowel syndrome, too much dairy products, inactivity and stress. Other causes are pregnancy, overuse of laxatives, colon cancer, change of usual diet and hypothyroidism.
Gentian herbs are excellent for treating constipation and other digestive disorders such as upset stomach, flatulence, indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems.
#12 Lowers High Blood Pressure
Another great health benefit of gentian herb is its power to lower high blood pressure. Consuming this herb can lower the risky level of blood pressure while maintaining its proper level. This allows to body to steer clear from many health problems linked to high blood pressure such as stroke, diabetes and heart attack.
It is best to consult your doctor before consuming gentian herbs in the form of powder, tea or tablet as there can be side effects for people suffering from high blood pressure.
#13 Increases Appetite
Loss of appetite has a great effect on the body. It can result to deficiency of nutrients that are necessary in order to keep your body healthy and moving. Lack of nutrition can make the body weak and lethargic. It can also lead to health problems if attention is not given right away.
People who are not able to eat properly can take gentian herbs to increase their appetite. It is believed that gentian is a natural herbal treatment for anorexia, exhaustion and gaining weight. The bitter constituents of this herb stimulate the secretion of saliva and the production of gastric juice that increase appetite. This herb can improve the entire system and stimulate the digestive functions.
With improved appetite, all organs, cells and all body tissues can acquire necessary nutrients for better functions. It also reduces the risk of acquiring health issues as it boosts the immune system.
#14 Digestive Disorders
The most common use of gentian herbs is for treating digestive disorders. This includes upset stomach, gas formation, constipation, bloating, indigestion, vomiting as well as other gastrointestinal problems. The ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians used gentian herbs as a digestive tonic. It is also used for treating intestinal worms.
A German herbalist, Rudolph Weiss, wrote that Gentian can make heavy foods easier to digest because it stimulates the secretion of gastric juice while improving the stomach’s muscle tone.
#15 Relieves Sinusitis
For people suffering from infections such as sinusitis, gentian herbs are proven to be beneficial. It can also be combined with other medicinal herbs such as elderflower, verbena, sorrel and cowslip flower to make it more effective.
#16 Healthier Skin
Gentian herbs are rich with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can make the body healthy. With the necessary nutrients and elimination of free radicals, the skin can become more radiant. Antioxidants are also helpful in keeping the skin young looking and prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This herb is also a natural treatment for wounds. According to studies, gentian has anti-inflammatory properties and wound-healing effect. Simply apply gentian sponges over the wounds and cover it with a gauze dressing.
Other Benefits of Gentian
- Boosts energy and improves the functions of many organs in the body.
- Soothes irritated gallbladder while improving its function.
- By boosting the appetite and better absorption of the nutrients, your hair can be stronger and smoother. Gentian herbs are also able to make hair thicker and shinier.
- Treatment for malaria.
- Balances thyroidal hormones secretion.
Gentian herb is gaining popularity all over the world because of the benefits it can offer to the body. It is rich with important minerals such as iron and zinc. Recovering from various illnesses can be faster when taking gentian roots. It is also effective in boosting the metabolism while enhancing the entire cardiovascular system.
Although this medicinal herb offers various benefits for the body, some people may experience side effects such as headaches, nausea and vomiting. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid taking gentian supplements. If you have high blood pressure or chronic gastrointestinal problems, make sure that you consult your doctor before taking gentian root supplements. People who have excess stomach acid should also avoid gentian roots.