Gentian: therapeutic properties of the root, infusion, decoction

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What is a gentian plant used for, what are the therapeutic properties of the root, how to make an infusion or syrup, preparation of a decoction to be used externally.


Gentian root properties

Perennial herb, the gentian has a rhizome that in the early years emits only large, opposite leaves, with petiole, oval, about 25 centimeters high and a dozen wide.

It is a plant whose flowering begins after the first ten years.


The flowering stem is able to reach a height of about one meter, with leaves gradually becoming smaller as they approach the top.

The last leaves appear without petiole, with a length of about six centimeters and green-yellow, with about twenty flowers with corolla in the axilla, formed by yellow lacinias, which has the characteristic of not falling after flowering.

The rhizome and the root must be collected in the autumn or spring if they are plants with a certain number of years behind them.


Great care should be taken not to confuse the gentian with the white hellebore, which is quite poisonous, and with the Belladonna roots, which are very similar.

The gentian has glabrous leaves, with the secondary veins of the leaves arranged in a lattice.

The taste is very bitter but not caustic, opposite to that of Veratro which is burning and not very bitter.


Among the main properties we must mention those of the roots of the greater Gentian, which are an excellent tonic and stimulant of digestive functions.

The drug exerts a bitter and non-astringent action, it also determines an increase in gastric juice and its acidity, as a reflection of the taste buds of the mouth and not by direct action on the mucous membrane of the stomach.

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Some believe that it is able to promote the rapid passage of food from the stomach to the intestine, increase the number of white blood cells and the excitability of the sympathetic.

It is also very useful in dispersions, flatulence, intestinal atony and in all dysfunctions of the digestive system, not to be used in case of kidney lesions.

In some cases it seems that it also exerts a notable deworming action.

In the event that the drug is taken before meals, there is an increase in appetite and better digestion.

Externally the gentian can be used as a decoction to wash the sores.

To prepare a root infusion, cold or hot, you need half a teaspoon of crushed root for a cup of water.

With a hundred grams of roots per liter of water, it is possible to prepare a decoction for external use.


A gentian syrup is prepared with 10 grams of crushed root per liter of water, to which a kilogram of sugar must be added.

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