What Are the Medical Uses of Gentiana Lutea?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2019
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Gentiana lutea, which is also commonly referred to as gentian, bitter root or gall weed, is an herb from Europe. It has been used as a remedy for stomach discomfort and loss of appetite hundreds of years. Though many people who take it for this purpose may obtain relief of their symptoms, the side effects of the herb can cause further stomach discomfort, nausea, and vomiting, countering the potential positive effects. The antiseptic qualities of the Gentiana lutea may make it possible for this herb to treat mild infections in the stomach.

The main medical use of the herb Gentiana lutea is for the treatment of gastrointestinal discomfort. Patients who experience mild pain, cramping, nausea, or indigestion can ingest small amounts of an extract made from the root of this plant. When the extract reaches the patient's stomach, it may improve digestion and settle the uneasiness or discomfort that a patient feels.

Additionally, Gentiana lutea has been used in the treatment of anorexia. Though it will not work for patients who have anorexia as the result of a psychological condition, patients with decreased appetite due to illness can benefit from the use of this herb. It is known to increase appetite while making it easier for a person to digest any food that is eaten.


There are also some properties of Gentiana lutea that could make it useful as an antiviral and antibiotic. The roots of this plant have an antiseptic quality that can help rid the digestive system of harmful microorganisms. These effects are not strong, however, and an herbal supplement of Gentiana lutea will not cure serious infections. In patients with ulcers, the use of this herb can make the ulcer worse. Historically, this plant was also used as a remedy for certain poisons, including tobacco poisoning.

Despite its medical uses, Gentiana lutea can have adverse effects on patients. Headaches are a common side effect, though they are rarely severe enough to cause a patient to stop taking the herb. Occasionally, the use of this plant can lead to severe abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. If these conditions occur, patients are advised to discontinue the use of this remedy and to try alternative treatments. The effects of this plant have not been thoroughly studied by medical professionals so patients wishing to start treatment with it should discuss it with a doctor first.


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