The species has been documented as far back as 180 BC and the roots were used medicinally in tonics. Gentian is also used in flavoring such as bitters and the softdrink “Moxie” as noted in Wikipedia. According to Botanical, “The name of the genus is derived from Gentius, an ancient King of Illyria (180-167 B.C.), who, according to Pliny and Dioscorides, discovered the medicinal value of these plants. During the Middle Ages, Gentian was commonly employed as an antidote to poison. Tragus, in 1552, mentions it as a means of diluting wounds. -Perennial Garden Lover
Gentian Health Benefits in Our Clinic
Many of the herbal formulas used here at Natchez Trace Veterinary Services contain Gentian as one of the main ingredients, so we thought you may be interested in the history, use and effects of this amazing herb.
One of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Gentian blends used in our clinic is Gentian Relieve Allergies. This herbal blend contains Gentian (long dan cao) along with the synergistic and supportive herbs Scutellaria (huang qin), Plantago (che qian zi), Raw Rehmannia Root (sheng di huang), Alisma (ze xie), Fructus Gardeniae, Jasminoidis (zhi zi), Bupleurum (chai hu), Licorice Root (gan cao), Angelica Tang Kuei (dang gui), Longan Fruit (long yan rou), and Jujube Seed (suan zao ren) to cool heat, harmonize the body’s defenses, and help support normal skin functions.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory, the liver acts as a pump that creates the smooth flow of energy, (also known as Qi), throughout the body. Oftentimes, allergies will lead to “Liver Qi Stagnation”, which is an imbalance within the liver. This causes the “pump” (the liver) to overheat and produce skin that may be hot to the touch. The herbs in Gentian Relieve Allergies harmonize the liver and clear this heat without hindering the body’s overall vitality.
Traditional Chinese Medicine explains that life is a balance of yin and yang. “Yin” represents the fluids, quiet, nighttime, maternal, and passive aspects of the body. Yang represents the heat, active, daytime, inflammation, male and aggressive aspects. The body is in a state of excess yang (heat) when allergies exist within the body. As this excess heat increases, it burns off the essential fluids (yin) within the body.
This depletion of fluids causes the development of phlegm in the body. Phlegm is seen in the form of a greasy coat, foul-smelling breath, and eye and ear discharge. The herbal blend Gentian Relieve Allergies resolves the heat and excess yang. With proper diet and care, the yin is replenished and healthy skin is maintained.
Gentiana is a plant extract made from gentians, which are a group of perennial plants belonging to the Gentianaceae family. There are about 180 species of gentians worldwide. They have a long history of use in healing both in Asian and Western herbalism. In the West, the common gentian used in healing is Gentiana lutea, or yellow gentian. In China, two different gentians are used in healing, Gentiana macrophylla, known in Chinese as qin jiao; and Gentiana scabra, known in Chinese as long dan cao. G. lutea grows wild or cultivated in many places from Europe to India. It is also cultivated in North America. It grows to a height of about 4 ft (1.2 m), primarily in temperate alpine and subalpine meadows. The plant produces a spike of showy yellow-orange flowers. G. macrophylla grows in China and Siberia, and G. scabra grows in China and Japan. -AltMD: Smart Alternatives
Gentian Health Benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Gentian is often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The part most often used is the root, which ic called Long Dan Cao. It ‘s properties are bitter and cold. The meridians affected by Gentian Root (Long Dan Cao) are the Gallbladder, Liver and Stomach.
One of the functions of Gentian (Long Dan Cao) is to drain damp heat from the liver and gallbladder. This helps to eliminated sore, swollen and red eyes, ears, and throat. It will also clear jaundice, aid swollen and painful genitals, and help eliminate leukorrhea. Gentian (Long Dan Cao) is also used to clear ascending liver fire, which helps to relieve convulsions, spasm, fever, red eyes and headaches. This herb is sometimes used orally for digestive disorders (flatulence, loss of appetite, fullness), fever, hysteria, and to stimulate menstrual flow. Topically, Gentian (Long Dan Cao) has been used to treat wounds and cancer.
Gentian Health Benefits in Western Herbal Medicine
In Western Herbal Medicine, Gentian is often used as a bitter digestive tonic. It stimulates the glandular cells of all of the digestive organs, making digestive transit faster. This herb als stimulates the immune system and aids in increasing the number of red blood cells and leukocytes. It is often mixed with other herbs for use in detoxification tinctures. Tincture of gentian is used to treat intestinal parasites, diabetes, and inflamed pancreas. Dilution of gentian tincture in water is used to treat gastric and hepatic diseases. Gentian root has been shown to have tonic affects on the liver and is used in liver diseases to stimulate liver function and aid in the regeneration of hepatic cells.
Gentian Contraindications, Side Effects, and Signs of Overdosage
Gentian should not be used by pregnant females, individuals with gastric acid secretions, or those suffering from heartburn, ulcers or high blood pressure. Symptoms of overdose include gastric irritation, nausea, and vomiting. Although side effects are rare, a few allergic reactions to gentian have been reported.