Gentian Root, Long Dan Cao, treats Liver-related Diseases and supports Detoxification



Gentian Root, Long Dan Cao, treats Liver-related Diseases and supports Detoxification

Yellow Gentian is a key ingredient in many drinks, including Angostura bitters, Aperol, and Moxie soda.

By Mark Zuleger-Thyss



Gentian is an autumnal flower known in Japan as rindou. The Japanese characters spelling out the word roughly translate to “dragon liver.”



The yellow gentian flower (Gentiana lutea) is often found as a deep purple blue. It was used in the nineteenth century to dye clothing and paint a 'gentian blue' color.

As an herb, Gentian was named after King Gentius of Ilyria, who discovered the medicinal virtues of the root of the yellow gentian flower. The plant's root and, less commonly, the bark are used to make medicine. Gentian is an herb with an intensely bitter taste, earning the name “The King of Bitters.” The bitter aftertaste is due to iridoid glycosides.

In herbal traditions worldwide, bitter herbs have cleansing and temperature-regulating effects, improving circulation and cooling the body's inflammatory response.


Blue spring gentian (Gentiana averna) flowers in alpine grass field



Gentian is also known as stemless Gentian, bitter root, felwort, pale or wild Gentian, gall weed, and Radix Gentianae Lutea.



Indian Gentian (Andrographis paniculata), used in India for thousands of years, has detoxifying and anti-infectious properties. This variety is a tropical shrub with delicate pink-purple flowers that produce small fruits with seeds.

Indian Gentian is used for its immune-boosting and circulatory benefits. However, Indian Gentian is used to treat various medical conditions. Every part of the plant has medicinal properties and is prescribed to treat a host of digestion-related problems. Loss of appetite, bloating, diarrhea, and heartburn are just a few.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), gentian root is called Long Dan Cao. Its most common uses are treating liver-related diseases, supporting detoxification, and treating immune dysfunction. Indian Gentian's bitter taste has a drying and cooling effect (heat-clearing and damp-drying) on the body, which supports the liver and gallbladder.

Like other bitter herbs and foods, herbalists generally use Gentian's taste and quality to help stimulate bile, increase the appeal of food, and detoxify the liver, gallbladder, and other organs. Other benefits of Gentian include fighting inflammation, supporting the nervous system, and boosting endurance.



Today, gentian root is frequently taken in capsule form due to its bitter taste. It helps treat indigestion, liver dysfunction, and fatigue.







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