Gentianae radix

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 05.10.2022

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Synonym(s)

Bitter Root; Gentian root; Radix gentianae

Definition
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Gentinae radix, the officinal gentian root, means the underground organs of Gentiana lutea, the yellow gentian, dried without fermentation. The herbal drug is used for the treatment of indigestion, liver and biliary disorders, among others.

HMPC -Monograph: Traditional-use: loss of appetite, mild dyspeptic, gastrointestinal complaintsESCOP-Monograph
: bitter medicine, loss of appetite, digestive complaintsCommission
E-Monograph: loss of appetite, digestive complaints, dyspeptic complaints, bloating, flatulence.

Empirical medicine: functional digestive weakness, atony, anorexia nervosa, subacidity of the stomach.

Ingredients
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Glycosidic, simple bitter compounds (Amara pura) such as amarogentine, swertiamarin, sweroside and gentiopikrin as well as dyes such as gentisin, dihydroxymethoxyxanthom. Other ingredients are: gentianin, gentioflavosides, tannins and various bitter tasting sugars (gentianose, gentiobiose). The extract of Gentinae radix must have a bitter value of at least 10,000.

Field of application/use
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Gentinae radix is found as a stomachic, i.e. appetite and digestion stimulant, amarum, i.e. bitter agent to stimulate saliva and gastric juice, as well as tonic, i.e. overall invigorating agent.
Gentian root has a tonic and digestive effect. Traditionally, gentian root is used for loss of appetite, stomach complaints, but also colds and other inflammations. Due to the stimulation of gastric juices and intestinal activity, gentian root has a slight laxative effect, see also contraindication. Its use in liver and gall bladder disorders has also been described.

Dosage
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Unless otherwise prescribed, it should be taken 2 to 4 times a day to stimulate the appetite about 30 minutes before meals. In the case of digestive problems, it is taken after each meal. Here, one cup of the tea infusion is taken as follows: pour boiling water (approx. 150 ml) over approx. 1 g of the gentian root and after approx. 10 to 15 minutes strain it through a tea strainer if necessary. Alternatively, cold preparation is possible, in which case the drug must be steeped for about 8 to 10 hours.

Undesirable effects
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Occasional headache

Contraindication
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Ventricular or duodenal ulcerChildren
and adolescents under 18 years of age in the absence of examination data, also pregnancy and lactation

Interactions
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There are no known interactions with other drugs.

Recipe(s)
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The fixed combination of angelica root + gentian root + wormwood consists of:

stimulates the appetite, promotes the secretion of gastric juice and is used in cases of loss of appetite and dyspeptic complaints such as bloating and flatulence.

Trade names
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Fixed commercial preparations are:

Note(s)
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note: use only dried drug, fresh gentian root can cause nausea

Literature
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  1. Behrens M et al. (2009) The human bitter taste receptor hTAS2R50 is activated by the two natural bitter terpenoids andrographolide and amarogentin. J Agric Food Chem 57:9860-9866.
  2. Huang C et al. (2016) Amarogentin Induces Apoptosis of Liver CancerCells via Upregulation of p53 and Downregulation of Human Telomerase ReverseTranscriptase in Mice. Technol Cancer Res Treat pii: 1533034616657976.
  3. Wölfle U et al. (2015) Amarogentin displays immunomodulatory effects in human mast cells and keratinocytes. Mediators Inflamm doi: 10.1155/2015/630128.
  4. Zhao JG et al. (2016) Amarogentin secoiridoid inhibits in vivo cancer cell growth in xenograft mice model and induces apoptosis in human gastric cancer cells (SNU-16) through G2/M cell cycle arrest and PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. J BUON 21:609-617.
  5. Friedberger H. (2021) Bitter in the mouth, healthy all around. Naturopathic Medicine 1: 26-28
  6. https://arzneipflanzenlexikon.info/enzian.php.
  7. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/herbal-monograph/draft-european-union-herbal-monograph-gentiana-lutea-l-radix-revision-1_en.pdf
  8. Wenigmann M. (2017) Phytotherapy medicinal drugs, phytopharmaceuticals, application. Urban & Fischer, pp. 101-102