Gentian root has been used by herbalists for over 2,000 years as an ancient herbal remedy used for digestive health issues and many other potential health benefits.
Gentian is named after Gentius (180-167 B.C.), King of the ancient country of Illyria on the Balkan Peninsula.
Like many ancient rulers, Gentius was interested in botany, and according to Pliny he discovered the medicinal virtues of gentians and used them to cure a mysterious fever that had stricken his army. However, he was not the first to explore the healing properties of this plant.
There are records on papyrus showing that over a thousand years earlier Egyptians had used them in medicinal prescriptions.
A family characteristic of gentians is the clear, bitter that has long been considered one of the purest and best tonic bitters in the pharmacopoeia.
The effectiveness of this tonic has led to extravagant claims for the gentians’ benefits.
European colonists learned from Native Americans many uses for native gentians, including treatments for general debility, digestive problems, backache, colic, and malaria.
In parts of Africa and South America, gentians are used to help treat malaria and snake bites.
Gentian was listed in The Pharmacopoeia of the United States of America from 1820 to 1955 as a digestive stimulant.