Properties of gentian
Perennial plant growing naturally in the mountains, between 800 and 1500m altitude, gentian Gentiana lutea L. belongs to the Gentianaceae family. It is commonly called yellow gentian or great gentian; it is a rustic plant that appreciates sunny exposures and cool temperatures. Its slow growth, longevity and medicinal properties have made gentian a famous plant since antiquity. According to Pline l’Ancien, its name comes from the king of the Balkans, Gentius, who discovered its use. Gentian was used against the plague, to fight against snake bites, liver disease, ulcers and eye ailments among the Greeks. The learned Hildegard de Bingen recommended this medicinal plant against parasites and to treat the liver.
Indeed, gentian is an essential plant in phytotherapy due to the large concentration of active principles of its root. It is always indicated in case of hepatic disorders and for its vermifugal action. The bitterness of its compounds stimulates appetite and digestion and giving thus virtues for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting). Gentiana Lutea L., through its tonic effect, promotes salivary, intestinal and gastric secretion. It also contains carminative and antispasmodic properties. This yellow flowered plant is also recommended to soothe skin inflammation and accelerate healing.
Gentian root contains xanthones yellow dyes (gentisin, isogentisin, gentioside), flavonoids and phytosterols, secoiridoids responsible for bitterness (gentiopicrin, swertiamarin, amarogentioside), sugars (gentiobiose, gentianose) and pectins (sweet mucilages) as well as traces of essential oil.
An ancient mountain remedy, gentian has fortifying and revitalizing properties indicated during convalescence. It has a depurative and hepatoprotective action on the liver. The yellow gentian root is therefore a source of many medicinal properties: antipyretic, antifungal antiparasitic and even antimalarial.
Traditionally used in infusion, gentian root is also used in decoctions and poultices. Previously very well known in retail by the alcoholic drink called Suze, gentian remains famous for its aperitif virtues. Gentian is currently found in several galenic fluid extracts, dry extracts, capsules and mother tinctures (root macerated in alcohol).
The pharmaceutical and food industries use gentian root a lot (in France, between 1,500 and 2,000 tons/year of fresh gentian are harvested). The uprooting of gentian is no longer authorised except in the Massif Central and in the Pyrenees; elsewhere, the harvesting of gentian is regulated or prohibited.
 PRAKASH, Om, SINGH, Ruchi, KUMAR, Saroj, et al. Gentiana lutea Linn.(Yellow Gentian): A comprehensive. Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine, 2017, vol. 3, no 3, p. 175-181.
 BELLMANN, Günter et JACOT‐GUILLARMOD, André. Contribution à la phytochimie du genre Gentiana I. Etude des composés flavoniques et xanthoniques dans les feuilles de Gentiana lutea L.(1re communication). Helvetica Chimica Acta, 1973, vol. 56, no 1, p. 284-294.