Yellow gentian grows among the Appenines, the Alps, the Pyrenees, and in other mountainous or elevated regions of Europe. It is now imported from Germany.
It has been used as a medicine by the ancients, and it is said to have derived its name from Gentius, a King of Illyria.
A fermented and distilled infusion is much relished as a liquor by the Swiss and the Tyrolese.
The ROOT is the only part used in medicine. The taste is slightly sweetish and intensely bitter without being nauseous. The odor is feeble but decided and pecuUar. The powder is of a yellowish color. Water and alcohol extract its taste and medical virtues.
Gentian is one of our finest tonics. It is an old favorite for promoting the appetite, tones the powers of digestion, moderately increases the temperature of the body, stimulates the circulation, and acts, in fact, as a general strengthener of the system. Doses should be reasonably small.
Many of the complex preparations handed down from the Greeks and the Arabians contain it among their ingredients, and it enters into most of the stomachic combinations employed in modem practice. It may be used in all cases of disease dependent on pure debility of the digestive organs or requiring a general tonic impression; dyspepsia, gout, amenorrhea, hysteria, scrofula, intermittent fever, diarrhea, worms, are among the many forms of diseases in which it will prove useful, but it is the conditions of the stomach and of the system generally which must be taken into consideration and there is scarcely a single complaint in which it cannot be used advantageously. Its powder has been applied externally to malignant and sloughing ulcers.
It is taken, usually, in the form of infusion of 1 T to a wine-glassful, 3 times daily, or the tincture of 1 or 2 t. The dose of the powder is from 10 to 40 grains.
In languid conditions and general debility, it is one of the best tonics. Its effect upon the liver is that of a cholagogue, rather than to influence the secretion of bile. It is of extreme value in jaundice and bilious conditions and is much used in this disease.
Gentian influences the portal (venous) circulation somewhat similar to golden seal.
A pleasant and mildly stimulating tonic can be made as follows: 1 oz. gentian, 2 oz. each coriander seed and orange peel and 1/4 oz. cinnamon. Make an infusion, using 1 oz. to 1 pt. boiling water. Dose from 2 to 3 T., 3 or 4 times daily.
In general use, it is best combined with an aromatic.
An excellent tonic for a weak stomach with poor digestion is made as follows: 1 dr. FE gentian and 4 oz. syr. ginger. Take just before meals.