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Drugs and Health Products

Monograph: Gentian

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Date: 2008-02-27


Gentiana lutea (USDA 2008)

Proper Name(s)

Gentiana lutea L. (Gentianaceae) ( USDA 2008 )

Common Name(s)

Source Material

Root ( Blumenthal et al. 2000 )

Route Of Administration


Dosage Form(s)

Those suited to the allowable route(s) of administration. This monograph is not intended to include food-like dosage forms such as bars, chewing gums or beverages.

Use(s) or Purpose(s)

Statement(s) to the effect of:



Preparation: Dry, Powder, Decoction & Infusion + All Non-Standardised Extracts

Dose(s): 0.1 - 6 Grams per day, dried root
Directions For Use: Take 15-60 minutes before meals (ESCOP 2003, Hoffmann 2003, Blumenthal et al. 2000, Bradley 1992)

See Appendix 1 for examples of appropriate dosage preparations and frequencies of use, according to cited references. The purpose of Appendix 1 is to provide guidance to industry.

Duration of use

No statement is required

Risk Information

Statement(s) to the effect of:

Caution(s) and Warning(s):
  • Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms persist.
  • Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms worsen.
  • Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are breastfeeding


Known Adverse Reaction(s):
Some people may experience headaches  (ESCOP 2003, Hoffmann 2003, Blumenthal et al. 2000)

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be chosen from the current Natural Health Products Ingredients Database and must meet the limitations outlined in the database.


  • The finished product specifications must be established in accordance with the requirements described in the NHPD Quality of Natural Health Products Guide.
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements outlined in the Natural Health Products Ingredient Database (NHPID).
  • The medicinal ingredient may comply with the specifications outlined in the Gentian Monograph published in the British Pharmacopoeia or the Gentian Root Monograph published in the European Pharmacopoeia.

References cited

  • Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
  • Bradley PR, editor. 1992. British Herbal Compendium: A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs, Volume 1. Bournemouth (GB): British Herbal Medicine Association.
  • Brinker F. 2001. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications.
  • ESCOP 2003: ESCOP Monographs: The Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products, 2nd edition. Exeter (UK): European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy and Thieme; 2003.
  • Felter HW, Lloyd JU. King's American Dispensatory, Volume 1, 18th edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications; 1983 [Reprint of 1898 original].
  • Grieve M. 1971. A Modern Herbal, Volume 1. New York (NY): Dover Publications [Reprint of 1931 Harcourt, Brace & Company publication].
  • Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.
  • McGuffin M, Kartesz JT, Leung AY, Tucker AO, editors. 2000. Herbs of Commerce, 2nd edition. Austin(TX): American Herbal Products Association.
  • Mills S, Bone K. 2005. The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. St. Louis (MO): Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
  • Morimoto I, Nozaka T, Watanabe F, Ishino M, Hirose Y, Okitsu T. Mutagenic activities of gentisin and isogentisin from Gentianae radix (Gentianaceae). Mutation Research 1983;116(2):103-117.
  • USDA 2008: ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville (MD). [Accessed 2008-01-21]. Available at
  • Wichtl M, editor. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals: A Handbook for Practice on a Scientific Basis, 3rd edition. Stuttgart (D): Medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers; 2004.
  • Wiersema J, León B. 1999. World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press LLC.
  • Williamson EM, Evans FJ, Wren RC. Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations. Saffron Walden (GB): C.W. Daniel Company Limited; 1988.

References reviewed

  • Barnes J, Anderson LA, Philipson JD. 2007. Herbal Medicines, 3rd edition. London (GB): Pharmaceutical Press.
  • BHP 1983: British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Cowling (GB): British Herbal Medical Association; 1983.

Appendix 1: Examples of appropriate dosage preparations, frequencies of use and directions for use

Dried root:

  • 1.8-6 g, per day (Mills and Bone 2005)
  • 2-4 g, per day (Blumenthal et al. 2000)

Infusion or decoction:

  • 1.8-6 g dried root, per day (Mills and Bone 2005)
  • 0.1-2 g dried root, 1-3 times per day (ESCOP 2003)
  • 1-2 g dried root, 2-3 times per day (Blumenthal et al. 2000)
  • 0.6-2 g dried root, 3 times per day (Bradley 1992)

Directions for use (infusion):

Pour 150 ml of boiling water (Blumenthal et al. 2000) over dried root, steep for 5 minutes and strain (Wichtl 2004).


  • 2-4 g dried equivalent, per day
    (1:1, 2-4 ml) (Blumenthal et al. 2000)
  • 1-2 g dried equivalent, 2-3 times per day
    (1:1, 1-2 ml) (Blumenthal et al. 2000)


  • 0.35-1 g dried equivalent, per day
    (1:2, 0.7-2 ml) (Mills and Bone 2005)
  • 0.6-2.4 g dried equivalent, per day
    (1:5, 3-12 ml) (Mills and Bone 2005)
  • 0.2 g dried equivalent, 1-3 times per day
    (1:5, 45-70% ethanol, 1 ml) (ESCOP 2003)
  • 0.2-0.4 g dried equivalent, 3 times per day
    (1:5, 40% alcohol, 1-2 ml) (Hoffmann 2003)
  • 1-3 g dried equivalent, per day (Blumenthal et al. 2000)
  • 0.2-0.8 g dried equivalent, 3 times per day
    (1:5, 45% ethanol, 1-4 ml) (Bradley 1992)

Solid extract:

0.2-0.4 g dried equivalent, 2-3 times per day
(3.5-4.5:1) (Blumenthal et al. 2000)