Gentiana lutea L


Herbaceous, vivacious plant, up to 2 m high. Fleshy, yellowish, long and very branched root. Bitter plant, it takes 4-8 years to sprout new flower stems. Erect, fistulose, glabrous, cylindrical, broad (2 cm diameter), pale green and smooth stems. It dries in the winter and sprouts again in spring. The dark green leaves are large (the basal ones, the biggest, reach up to 30 cm long and 15 wide), oval-shaped, pointy with parallel clear nerves. The base is petiolate and embrace the top, leaves are opposite, which differentiate them from the white hellebole a very poisonous plant from the same habitat. Flowers develop at the top side of the stem, large pedunculate with star-shaped and golden yellow with five petals, gathered by 3 to 10 in the axil of upper leaves. There are many groups in each stem forming spikes of flowers, visible from the distance as per its attractive aspect. The fruit is an egg-shaped capsule acuminate that open in valves when ripens releasing the numerous winged seeds that holds within. It blooms in early summer (June-August). It belongs to the Gentianaceae family.

The plant originally comes from France, Spain, and the Balkans. There are small-scale plantations in Germany (where the species are fully protected) and France. It’s a plant of the meadows between 900-2,400 m. In Spain it grows in the Pyrenees, Cantabric mountains and Center mountains (Sierra de Guadarrama).

Harvesting: in late summer or autumn, when it starts to dry and all the active principles are concentrated in the root, the earth is eliminated; the root is cut and left to dry at the shadow, extended in thin layers. The red fermented roots are to be discarded and put away in vacuum closed containers in a dry place, as they are hygroscopic.

Part used

The root. It is not necessary to cut the whole root.


  • Digestive disorders: dyspepsia, indigestion, hypochlorhydric (small secretion of gastric acids), satiety sensation, ptosis, gastric atony, flatulence.
  • Appetite loss, inappetence.
  • Liver deficiency, gallbladder disorders.
  • Febrile diseases convalescence.


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