Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea | Family: Gentianaceae

Common name(s): Gentian, Yellow Gentian


  • Perennial | Zones 3-9 | 3-4+ feet tall  | Yellow flowers grow in whorls in the uppermost leaves, bloom in summer/autumn.
  • Full sun/partial shade, protected from wind | Loamy, moist soil


Harvest root in the fall and dry. The best roots for medicine are the years before the plant produces flowers, which can take up to 3 years.


Decoction: Put 1/2 – 1 tsp shredded root in 1 cup of water. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drink, warm, 15-30 minutes before meals or when experiencing stomach pains from overeating.

Tincture: 1-4 ml 3x/day (as for decoction), or take as drops to stave off cravings for sweets


Constituents: Bitter principles, mucilage, pectin, sugar, tannin

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, bitter, cholagogue, gastric stimulant, sialogogue

Uses: appetite/digestive stimulant, dyspepsia, flatulence, jaundice


  • Very bitter, cold, astringent, drying


It appears Gentian is not all that easy to grow. Given that I am all about wild gardening – I plant ’em, then they are on their own – I don’t think I’ll be growing this plant anytime soon. Also, this plant has been over-harvested in the wild so I will be sure to only buy root from cultivated plants, should I want to add it to my herbal closet.