Gentiana lutea is known for its bitter root. It has been used for hundreds of years for the digestive system. Supposedly, the action of gentian begins when it is absorbed by the membranes of the mouth. Particles in gentian stimulate the taste buds, causing an increase in saliva, gastric juice, and bile secretion.
Available human studies for the traditional uses of gentian are currently lacking. Although gentian has been used traditionally with relative safety, poisoning has been reported with homemade gentian wine contaminated with white hellebore.

Related Terms

Amarogentin, bitter root, bitterwort, centiyane, gallweed, gelber Enzian (German), gele gentian (Dutch), genciana (Portuguese - Brazil, Spanish), gentian, Gentiana lutea Linné, Gentiana lutea subsp. symphyandra, Gentiana spathacea, Gentianaceae (family), Gentianae radix, gentiane jaune (French), gentiopicroside, gentisin, genziana maggiore (Italian), glycosides, goryczka zółta (Polish), great yellow gentian, gul ensian (Danish), gullgentiana (Swedish), gulsøte (Norwegian), hořec žlutý (Czech), Indian gentian, iridoids, isogentisin, keltakatkero (Finnish), kollane emajuur (Estonian), pale gentian, rumeni svišč (Slavic), sárga swertia (Hungarian), sárga tárnics (Hungarian), secoiridoids, stemless gentian, swert füve (Hungarian), Swertia chirata, xanthone glycosides, xanthones, yellow gentian.
Note: Gentiana lutea is not the source of gentian violet. Additionally, yellow gentian and the highly toxic Veratrum album (white hellebore) often grow in close proximity and are easily confused prior to flowering.
Combination products: Amaro Medicinale Giuliani (rhubarb extract, cascara extract, gentian tincture, boldo tincture), Sinupret® (European elder, common sorrel, cowslip, European vervain, gentian).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Gastrointestinal disorders (stomach and intestine problems) (Grade: C)
Herbalists have previously used gentian to stimulate digestion. Gentian also reportedly stimulates the gallbladder and the liver. A study comparing three herbal combinations found that the gentian with rhubarb was most effective at improving symptoms, including loss of appetite and nausea. Additional research is needed in this area.
Saliva production (Grade: C)
Herbalists have previously used gentian to stimulate digestion. The bitter parts of gentian may stimulate the taste buds, causing an increase in saliva. A small study found that gentian increases salivation. Additional research is needed in this area.