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Large Gentian Root

Large Gentian root | Qinjiao
COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)

Large Gentian Root (Qinjiao)

BOTANICAL NAME

Radix Gentianae Macrophyllae

USES

The most historically-common and more recently-proven medicinal benefits of gentiana supplementation, alone, include the treatment of a wide variety of gastrointestinal distresses and discomforts. These include inflammation, gastric infection and indigestion, and appetite loss as well as heartburn and indigestion, diarrhea, vomiting, and aspergillus- and candida-caused ulcers, pain, and bleeding within the digestive tract. This is likely because nearly all of the active compounds found in gentiana derivatives have anti-inflammatory and inflammation-inhibition properties, and each of these conditions can be caused by, exacerbated by, or result in inflammation along the GI tract. What’s more, these same bioactive compounds have notable antioxidant effects and also may help strengthen immune responses, which are especially important within the digestive system.

Other recent research suggests that gentiana supplementation may have anti-diabetic effects, though this benefit needs much more research before it is either confirmed or well understood.

Large gentian root is classified in Chinese Medicine as an herb that dispels wind-dampness which largely means arthritis that is worse with humidity.  It is classified as bitter, acrid and slightly cold, affecting the Gallbladder, Liver and Stomach channels.

PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION

The hairy root structures of genitana plants are the most-often used part of this plant in both traditional and contemporary medicinal applications. There are numerous acceptable varieties of gentiana plants, including Gentiana loureiroi and Gentiana scabra, as well as Gentiana tibetica (among others). The medicinal effects of these different varieties are near-indistinguishable. However, it seems the specific preparation of the hairy root structures significantly alters the potential therapeutic benefits and indications for best use. Consequently, the benefits and side-effects of specific gentiana root extracts and decoctions (and combinations with other herbs) should be considered prior to use.

Moreover, the plant age and growing conditions dramatically impact the concentrations of active components in the hairy root structures, making consistent dosage and usage of gentiana supplements a challenge.

PRECAUTIONS

As with other herbal supplements, you should consult with a certified herbalist, physician or other qualified healthcare professional before taking gentiana. If you have any significant health concerns or pre-existing conditions, you should make special note of this when speaking with your doctor prior to using gentiana supplements. Some studies suggest that some gentiana supplements may impact blood pressure, so people with a history of high or low blood pressure, who are taking blood pressure medications, or who are preparing to undergo surgery should avoid using gentiana supplements of any kind. Similarly, people who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should not use gentiana supplements, since their effects on pregnancy, fetal development, and infants are unknown.

 

REFERENCES

A. Mathew, A.D. Taranalli & S.S. Torgal (2004) Evaluation of Anti-inflammatory and Wound Healing Activity of Gentiana lutea Rhizome Extracts in Animals, Pharmaceutical Biology, 42:1, 8-12, DOI: 10.1080/13880200390502883
Arsala Mansoor , Mudassir I. Zaidi , Mumtaz Hyder and Rehana Rasheed , 2004. Antihypertensive Effect of Gentiana olivieriJournal of Medical Sciences, 4: 176-178.
He, Y., Zhu, S., Ge, Y. et al. The anti-inflammatory secoiridoid glycosides from Gentianae Scabrae Radix: the root and rhizome of Gentiana scabra . J Nat Med 69, 303–312 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11418-015-0894-8
Huang, Shih-Hung, et al. “Establishment of Hairy Root Lines and Analysis of Iridoids and Secoiridoids in the Medicinal Plant Gentiana Scabra.” Botanical Studies, vol. 55, no. 1, 2014, p. 17., doi:10.1186/1999-3110-55-17.
Mirzaee, Fatemeh, et al. “Medicinal, Biological and Phytochemical Properties of Gentiana Species.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, vol. 7, no. 4, 2017, pp. 400–408., doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.12.013.
Tan, R.x., et al. “Secoiridoid Glycosides and an Antifungal Anthranilate Derivative from Gentiana Tibetica.” Phytochemistry, vol. 47, no. 7, 1998, pp. 1223–1226., doi:10.1016/s0031-9422(97)00698-5.
Suh, Hyo-Weon, et al. “A Bitter Herbal Medicine Gentiana Scabra Root Extract Stimulates Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Secretion and Regulates Blood Glucose in Db/Db Mouse.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Elsevier, 28 June 2015, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874115300052.
Wang, Zhanyong, et al. “Antioxidant and Immunological Activities of Polysaccharides from Gentiana Scabra Bunge Roots.” Carbohydrate Polymers, Elsevier, 4 June 2014, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0144861714005554.
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