Gentiana lutea

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-18 (EDT)

See Also Botanical Monographs

Gentian (Gentiana lutea) is a digestive tonic. To explore the characteristics, medicinal uses and prescribing considerations of this herb in more detail, check out the references indicated.[1], [2]



Historical Uses:

Dioscorides wrote that Gentiana lutea was introduced into herbal medicine by King Gentius of Illyria (180-167 B.C.). It has been used for cleaning wounds and in aperitifs (served before meals to stimulate appetite).

Medicinal Uses:

Prescribing Considerations

The information provided is intended to augment the treatment from a naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional. Although most herbs are generally safe, it is recommended that you avoid self-prescribing especially when there is an underlying ongoing medical condition, if you are on any prescription medications or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Formulations and Preparation

Take 15-30 min before meals. Take 40 drops to restart digestion after over-eating.


The safety and prescribing considerations for this herb include:[3] [4]

  • Generally regarded as safe.
  • Side-effects are excess stomach acid; may cause headaches.
  • Contraindications: stomach irritability or inflammation (empirical); gastrointestinal ulcers (empirical), although may be useful in gastric ulcers associated with atrophic gastritis; pregnancy
  • Drug-Herb Interactions.[2]
  • H2-receptor Antagonists or Other Antacids - Gentiana acts as a stomach-acid secreting stimulant therefore the herb antagonizes the action of these drugs.


  1. Boon Heather, Smith Michael (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs: The Complete Natural Medicine Guide Second Edition Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, CCNM Toronto.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul, Barlow Kerry, Gowan Matt (2011) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Advanced Botanical Medicine. V3 CCNM Press, Toronto.
  3. Stargrove Mitchell Bebell, Treasure Jonathan, McKee Dwight L (2008) Herb, Nutrient and Drug Interactions: Clinical Implications and Therapeutic Strategies.
  4. Brinker Francis (1997) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions: Plus Herbal Adjuncts With Medicines, 4th Edition Eclectic Medical Publications.