Overview

Gentian is an herb. The root of the plant and, less commonly, the bark are used to make medicine.

Gentian is used for digestion problems such as loss of appetite, bloating, diarrhea, and heartburn. It is also used for fever and to prevent muscle spasms.

Gentian is applied to the skin for treating wounds and cancer.

Gentian is used in combination with European elderflower, verbena, cowslip flower, and sorrel for treating symptoms of sinus infections (sinusitis).

In foods and beverages, gentian is used as an ingredient.

In manufacturing, gentian is used in cosmetics.

Gentian root is not related to the gentian violet dye (methylrosaniline chloride).

If you plan to make your own gentian preparation, be sure you identify gentian correctly. The highly toxic white hellebore (Veratrum album) can be misidentified as gentian and has caused accidental poisoning when used in homemade preparations.

How does it work ?

Gentian contains a chemical that might dilate blood vessels.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Sinus infection (sinusitis). Research studies show that taking gentian as part of a combination herbal product improves symptoms from sinus infections. Taking gentian as part of a combination herbal product along with a prescription steroidnasal spray (Nasonex) seems to reduce the symptoms of a sinus infection better than taking the steroid nasal spray alone.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Weight loss. Early research shows that eating a special pudding containing gentian root extract for breakfast once can reduce the number of calories eaten over the next 24 hours. But this does not reduce feelings of hunger or fullness.
  • Stomach disorders.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Heartburn.
  • Vomiting.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Cancer.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gentian for these uses.

Side Effects

Gentian seems to be safe for most people when taken by mouth in small amounts as part of a combination product containing gentian root, elderflower, verbena, and cowslip flower (SinuComp, Sinupret). There isn't enough information to know if gentian is safe when used in medicinal amounts other than as part of the combination product. The combination product can cause stomach upset and allergic skin rash.

There isn't enough information to know if applying gentian to the skin is safe.

The highly toxic white hellebore (Veratrum album) can be mistaken for gentian and has caused accidental poisoning when used in homemade preparations.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Gentian seems to be safe for most people when taken by mouth in small amounts as part of a combination product containing gentian root, elderflower, verbena, and cowslip flower (SinuComp, Sinupret). There isn't enough information to know if gentian is safe when used in medicinal amounts other than as part of the combination product. The combination product can cause stomach upset and allergic skin rash.

There isn't enough information to know if applying gentian to the skin is safe.

The highly toxic white hellebore (Veratrum album) can be mistaken for gentian and has caused accidental poisoning when used in homemade preparations. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of gentian during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Low blood pressure: There is a concern that using gentian might make low blood pressure worse or interfere with drug treatment to increase blood pressure.

Surgery: Because gentian might affect blood pressure, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop using gentian at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with GENTIAN

    Theoretically, gentian might decrease blood pressure. Taking gentian along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

    Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • Sinus infection (sinusitis): A specific combination product (Sinupret) containing 12 mg of gentian root and 36 mg each of European elder flower, verbena, sorrel, and cowslip flower has been taken three times daily. Another combination product (Sinupret forte) containing 12 mg of gentian root and 36 mg each of elder flower, primrose flower, verbena and sorrel has been taken three times daily for 7 days.
View References

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.