July 26, 2016

Gentian

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What other names is Gentian known by?

Bitter Root, Bitterwort, Gall Weed, Geneciana, Gentiana acaulis, Gentiana kochiana, Gentiana lutea, Gentianae Radix, Gentiane, Gentiane Acaule, Gentiane Jaune, Gentiane Pâle, Gentiane Sans Tige, Gentiane Sauvage, Grande Gentiane, Pale Gentian, Racine Amère, Stemless Gentian, Yellow Centiyane, Yellow Gentian, Wild Gentian.

What is Gentian?

Gentian is an herb. The root of the plant and, less commonly, the bark are used to make medicine.

Gentian is used for digestion problems such as loss of appetite, fullness, intestinal gas, diarrhea, gastritis, heartburn, and vomiting. It is also used for fever, hysteria, and high blood pressure. Some people use gentian to prevent muscle spasms, treat parasitic worms, start menstrual periods, and as a germ killer.

Gentian is applied to the skin for treating wounds and cancer.

Gentian is used in combination with European elderflower, verbena, cowslip flower, and sorrel for treating symptoms of sinus infections (sinusitis). It is used in combination with other products for malaria.

In foods and beverages, gentian is used as an ingredient.

In manufacturing, gentian is used in cosmetics.

Gentian root is not related to the gentian violet dye (methylrosaniline chloride).

If you plan to make your own gentian preparation, be sure you identify gentian correctly. The highly toxic white hellebore (Veratrum album) can be misidentified as gentian and has caused accidental poisoning when used in homemade preparations.

Is Gentian effective?

There is some scientific evidence that gentian, when combined with other herbs including European elder flower, verbena, cowslip flower, and sorrel, might help for treating symptoms of sinusitis.

There isn't enough information to know if gentian is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: stomach disorders, diarrhea, fever, heartburn, vomiting, menstrual disorders, cancer, and others.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Symptoms of sinus infection (sinusitis) when combined with other herbs including elderflower, verbena, cowslip flower, and sorrel. Research studies have used a product called Sinupret.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Stomach disorders.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Heartburn.
  • Vomiting.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Cancer.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gentian for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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