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Gentiana lutea - L.                
                 
Common Name Yellow Gentian
Family Gentianaceae
Synonyms Asterias hybrida. Asterias lutea. Coilantha biloba. Gentiana major.
Known Hazards Contraindicated with gastric or duodenal ulcer patients. Possible headaches, nausea and vomiting [301].
Habitats Grassy alpine and sub-alpine pastures, usually on calcareous soils[9, 50].
Range C. and S. Europe.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Gentiana lutea is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, lepidoptera.

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Gentiana lutea Yellow Gentian


Gentiana lutea Yellow Gentian
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The root is sometimes used in the manufacture of gentian bitters[183]. The root contains sugar and mucilage[2] (this is probably a reference to its medicinal properties). The root was occasionally used as a flavouring in beer before the use of hops (Humulus lupulus) became widespread[4].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anthelmintic;  Antiinflammatory;  Antiseptic;  Appetizer;  Bitter;  Cholagogue;  Emmenagogue;  Febrifuge;  Refrigerant;  Stomachic;  Tonic.


Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness[238]. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite[4]. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system[238], and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects[4]. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant and stomachic[4, 7, 9, 14, 21, 165]. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia[238]. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers[238]. The root, which can be as thick as a person's arm and has few branches[239], is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[4]. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties[4]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Gentiana lutea as a tonic (see [302] for critics of commission E).
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high[239]. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight[200, 239]. Most species will grow well in the rock garden[200]. This species is easily grown in any good garden soil so long as it is deep enough to accommodate its roots[187, 239], though it prefers alkaline conditions[238]. It prefers full sun but succeeds in partial shade[111]. A slow-growing plant, it takes many years to reach its full stature[239]. A moisture loving plant, growing well by water, it prefers to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer and it grows better in the north and west of Britain[1]. Plants are very deep-rooted and are intolerant of root disturbance[4, 200]. They are very long lived, to 50 years or more[9]. A very ornamental plant[1], it takes about 3 years to reach flowering size from seed[4]. Cultivated as a medicinal plant in Europe[4, 57].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame[200]. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically[200, 239]. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture[239]. Following this with a period of at least 5 - 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination[239]. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed[239]. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark[239]. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 - 7 years to reach flowering size[239]. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring[238].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
50200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[14]Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs.
A good herbal.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[50]? Flora Europaea
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
[57]Schery. R. W. Plants for Man.
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
[111]Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials.
A fairly wide range of perennial plants that can be grown in Britain and how to grow them.
[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[187]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2.
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[239]Kohlein. F. Gentians.
A nice readable book, giving details of habitats and cultural needs of all the members of this genus, with brief notes on other members of the family.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.
[302]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Commission E
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commission_E

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
ethno Tue Nov 25 2008
if you would like some seeds, there are in ethnoplants

Ethnoplants seeds gentiana lutea

Elizabeth H.
naim gjinaj Tue Sep 1 2009
who want to by gentiana lutea because i hade plant in albania if you know someone please tell me to contakt them my email address is free2naimi@yahoo.co.uk
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