Bitter Root, Bitterwort, Gall Weed, Gelber Enzian, Genciana, Geneciana, Gentiana acaulis, Gentiana kochiana, Gentiana lutea, Gentianae Radix, Gentiane, Gentiane Acaule, Gentiane Jaune, Gentiane Pâle, Gentiane Sans Tige, Gentiane Sauvage, Grande Gentiane, Great Yellow Gentian, Gullgentiana, Pale Gentian, Qinjiao, Racine Amère, Stemless Gentian, Yellow Centiyane, Yellow Gentian, Wild Gentian.


Overview Information

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 steroid nasal 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

Side Effects & Safety

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 & Warnings:

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.



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.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • 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


  • Amin, A. Ketoconazole-induced testicular damage in rats reduced by Gentiana extract. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2008;59(6):377-384. View abstract.
  • Borgia, M., Sepe, N., Borgia, R., and Ori-Bellometti, M. Pharmacological activity of a herb extract: a controlled clinical study. Current Therapeutic Research 1981;29:525-536.
  • Chen, L., Liu, J. C., Zhang, X. N., Guo, Y. Y., Xu, Z. H., Cao, W., Sun, X. L., Sun, W. J., and Zhao, M. G. Down-regulation of NR2B receptors partially contributes to analgesic effects of Gentiopicroside in persistent inflammatory pain. Neuropharmacology 2008;54(8):1175-1181. View abstract.
  • Citova, I., Ganzera, M., Stuppner, H., and Solich, P. Determination of gentisin, isogentisin, and amarogentin in Gentiana lutea L. by capillary electrophoresis. J Sep.Sci 2008;31(1):195-200. View abstract.
  • Ozturk, N., Baser, K. H., Aydin, S., Ozturk, Y., and Calis, I. Effects of Gentiana lutea ssp. symphyandra on the central nervous system in mice. Phytother Res 2002;16(7):627-631. View abstract.
  • Schmieder, A., Schwaiger, S., Csordas, A., Backovic, A., Messner, B., Wick, G., Stuppner, H., and Bernhard, D. Isogentisin--a novel compound for the prevention of smoking-caused endothelial injury. Atherosclerosis 2007;194(2):317-325. View abstract.
  • Suzuki, O., Katsumata, Y., and Oya, M. Inhibition of monoamine oxidase by isogentisin and its 3-O-glucoside. Biochem Pharmacol 1978;27(16):2075-2078. View abstract.
  • Wang, C. H., Cheng, X. M., Bligh, S. W., White, K. N., Branford-White, C. J., and Wang, Z. T. Pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of gentiopicroside from decoctions of Gentianae and Longdan Xiegan Tang after oral administration in rats--comparison with gentiopicroside alone. J Pharm Biomed.Anal 9-3-2007;44(5):1113-1117. View abstract.
  • Wang, C. H., Wang, Z. T., Bligh, S. W., White, K. N., and White, C. J. Pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of gentiopicroside following oral and intravenous administration in mice. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2004;29(3):199-203. View abstract.
  • Akileshwari C, Muthenna P, Nastasijevic B, et al. Inhibition of aldose reductase by Gentiana lutea extracts. Exp Diabetes Res. 2012;2012:147965. View abstract.
  • Baragatti B, Calderone V, Testai L, et al. Vasodilator activity of crude methanolic extract of Gentiana kokiana Perr. et Song. (Gentianaceae). J Ethnopharmacol 2002;79:369-72. View abstract.
  • Berman J, Sheng Y, Gómez Gómez L, et al. Red Anthocyanins and Yellow Carotenoids Form the Color of Orange-Flower Gentian (Gentiana lutea L. var. aurantiaca). PLoS One. 2016;11(9):e0162410. View abstract.
  • Chericoni S, Testai L, Calderone V, et al. The xanthones gentiacaulein and gentiakochianin are responsible for the vasodilator action of the roots of Gentiana kochiana. Planta Med 2003;69:770-2. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:
  • Haraguchi H, Tanaka Y, Kabbash A, et al. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors from Gentiana lutea. Phytochemistry 2004;65:2255-60. View abstract.
  • Kesavan R, Chandel S, Upadhyay S, et al. Gentiana lutea exerts anti-atherosclerotic effects by preventing endothelial inflammation and smooth muscle cell migration. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2016;26(4):293-301. View abstract.
  • Kesavan R, Potunuru UR, Nastasijevic B, et al. Inhibition of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation by Gentiana lutea root extracts. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e61393. View abstract.
  • Marz RW, Ismail C, Popp MA. Action profile and efficacy of a herbal combination preparation for the treatment of sinusitis. Wien Med Wochenschr 1999;149:202-8. View abstract.
  • Mennella I, Fogliano V, Ferracane R, Arlorio M, Pattarino F, Vitaglione P. Microencapsulated bitter compounds (from Gentiana lutea) reduce daily energy intakes in humans. Br J Nutr. 2016:1-10. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516003858 View abstract.
  • Neubauer N, Marz RW. Placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, clincal trial with Sinupret sugar coated tablets on the basis of a therapy with antibiotics and decongestant nasal drops in acute sinusitis. Phytomedicine 1994;1:177-81.
  • Peric A, Kovacevic SV, Gacesa D, Peric AV. Efficacy and safety of combined treatment of acute rhinosinusitis by herbal medicinal product Sinupret and mometasone furoate nasal spray. ENT Updates 2017;7(2):68-74.
  • Sanatani M, Younus J, Stitt L, et al. Tolerability of the combination of ginger (Zingiber officinalis), gentian (Gentiana lutea) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) in patients with cancer-associated anorexia. J Complement Integr Med. 2015;12(1):57-60. View abstract.
  • Tomic M, Tovilovic G, Butorovic B, et al. Neuropharmacological evaluation of diethylether extract and xanthones of Gentiana kochiana. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2005;81:535-42. View abstract.
  • Toriumi Y, Kakuda R, Kikuchi M, et al. New triterpenoids from Gentiana lutea. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2003;51:89-91. View abstract.
  • Uncini Manganelli RE, Chericoni S, Baragatti B. Ethnopharmacobotany in Tuscany: plants used as antihypertensives. Fitoterapia 2000;71:S95-100. View abstract.
  • Zagler B, Zelger A, Salvatore C, et al. Dietary poisoning with Veratrum album--a report of two cases. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2005;117:106-8. View abstract.

Vitamins Survey

Have you ever purchased GENTIAN?

Did you or will you purchase this product in-store or online?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

What factors influenced or will influence your purchase? (check all that apply)

Vitamins Survey

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Do you buy vitamins online or instore?

What factors are most important to you? (check all that apply)

This survey is being conducted by the WebMD marketing sciences department.Read More

More Resources for GENTIAN

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 .