Scientific name: Gentiana lutea, Gentiana andrewsii

Common names: Bitterroot, Bitterwort, Closed Gentian, Felwort, Low Gentian, Pale Gentian, Yellow Gentian

Ayurvedic names: Kirata 

Chinese names: qin jiao,Long-dan-cao

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    الجنطيانا (al jantania)

Rain forest names:

Family: Gentianaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Root, rhizome, leaf

Collection: Summer

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 3-4 feet or more

Actions:  Anthelmintic, antibilious, Bitter, gastric stimulant, Sialagogue, cholagogue, anti-microbial, emmenagogue, hepatic, tonic

Known Constituents: Gentiamarin, gentiin, gentisin, mesogentioigenin, protogentiogenin, sugar and xanthone pigment. bitter glycosides, alkaloids, flavonoids 

Constituents Explained:


Has smooth stems with lance shaped leaves (picture) that are opposite to each other at each join in the stem (picture – opposite).  Thw floers are tubular (picture) and greenish-white to purplish-green. Tends to grow better in wet areas.

Traditional Use:

A classic bitter that is traditionally used to stimulate and strengthen digestion.  It is often take fiften minutes to an hour before meals for this purpose. It is often used to enhance the release of the right amount of stomach juices to aid digestion, enhance liver and pancreatic function.

Used to quicken the release of the contents of the stomach.  Its been used as a general tonic, and to ‘purify’ the blood.1    Its strong tastes often means it needs to be combined with a better tasting herb.

Has been used for fevers, colds, convulsions, the female reproductive organs and the circulation.1

It has been used to help people recover from long term conditions.  When used as a tonic it is normally mixed with a purgative. For dyspeptic conditionsit has often been used instead of Peruvian bark.

Clinical Studies:



Herb Name: Gentian

Other Names:  

Latin Name:  Gentian lutea

Family:  Gentianceae 

Common parts Used: roots

Gentian is a flowering plant. It mostly grows in Central and South Europe. The name of plant is after a king who used the flower of the plant to heal his wounded soldiers. It belongs to the family Gentianceae. It requires moist soil to grow.

The root of Gentian is used to make bitters. The root is also used to flavor beverages. The flower is also used for ornamental purposes. It is also used to measure the bitterness of different elements of plants. The gentian is considered more medicinal than edible.

The roots of Gentian are used as herbal remedy for the treatment of digestive diseases. It is also used with blend of other herbs treating various disorders in digestive system. It strengthens the body system; it stimulates the digestive system, gallbladder and liver. The root is used as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and stomachic. The patients of gastric ulcer should not use Gentian. 

Herb Name: Gentian (Gentian root)

Others names: Bitterwort, Yellow gentian, Yellow gentian root

Latin name: Gentiana lutea L.

Family: Gentianaceae

Common part used: Roots, Rhizomes

Description: Gentian is a plant with fleshy roots, thick hollow stems, oval fan-like folded leaves, and bright yellow flowers. The roots have an aromatic smell and a bitter-sweet taste.

Properties: Gentian is an herb that is used in herbal medicine to treat gastric problems. Gentian is commonly used in the form of a liver tonic, as well as one of the main ingredients of Angostura bitters. This is a bitter herb that has astringent, cleansing, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a gastric stimulant, and it lowers fevers and reduces inflammation.

Contents: Gentian contains gentiopicroside (gentiopicrin), sweroside, swertiamarin, and a little of amarogentin, which is responsible for the bitter taste of this herb. Also present are phytosterols, xanthones, phenolic acid, trisaccharide gentianose and polysaccharide pectin.

Internal use: Internally, this herb is commonly used in the form of a liver tonic, for loss of appetite, flatulence, digestive problems, and lowered production of saliva, bile, and gastric juices. It also helps to stimulate the taste buds. Additionally, Gentian root can be used for anorexia. Gentian is also a common ingredient in homeopathic medicine. This herb is a main ingredient of various liquors, schnapps, and flavorings, including Angostura bitters, Moxie, and others.

External use: Not noted.

Essential oil and aromatherapy use: Not noted.

Safety precautions: Gentian is contraindicated for people with gastric ulcers. It is important to note that the beneficial Yellow gentian and the toxic White Hellebore (Veratrum album) have very similar leaves, and they should not be confused.