Gentian root (Gentianae radix)

Published November 30, 1985; Revised March 13, 1990.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Gentianae radix, gentian root.

Composition of Drug

Gentian root consists of the dried, unfermented roots and rhizome of Gentiana lutea L. [Fam. Gentianaceae], containing a bitter value of not less than 10,000, as well as its preparations in effective dosage.

The drug contains bitter principles (amarogentin, gentiopicroside) and the bitter-tasting gentiobiose.


Digestive disorders, such as loss of appetite, fullness, flatulence.


Gastric and duodenal peptic ulcers.

Side Effects

Especially sensitive persons may occasionally experience headaches.

Interactions with Other Drugs

None known.


Unless otherwise prescribed:

Daily dosage:

Tincture (according to Erg. B. 6):
1 - 3 g; Fluidextract (according to Erg. B. 6):
2 - 4 g; Root:
2 - 4 g. Mode of Administration Comminuted drug and dried extracts for infusions, bitter-tasting forms of medications for oral administration.


The essential active principles are the bitter substances contained in the herb. These bring about a reflex excitation of the taste receptors, leading to increased secretion of saliva and the digestive juices. Gentian root is therefore considered to be not simply a pure bitter, but also a roborant and tonic.

In animal experimentation there are indications that bronchial secretion is increased.