Did you know your favorite cocktail or beer might have some medicinal properties? Bitter botanicals have long been used in alcoholic beverages for their flavor and digestive benefits. One such herb is gentian – named after an Illyrian King, Gentius, who was the first to learn about its medicinal properties. He used the botanical in healing tonics as early as 167 BC.
Gentian roots come from flowering plants in the Gentiana genus, which includes more than 400 species. This flowering plant generally blossoms blue or yellow flowers depending on the variety. It grows mainly in temperate zones and highland regions throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas.1 Gentiana lutea is the most widely sold species of gentian root and has been used for over 2000 years to stimulate appetite and improve digestion.
More than just a bitter, the benefits of gentian!
- Aids digestion – Gentian boosts digestive enzymes, supports hydrochloric acid production, speeds up gastric emptying, increases nutrient absorption, and decreases nausea, heartburn, and diarrhea.1,2
- Supports liver and gallbladder function – For centuries, gentian has been used as a liver tonic. It is also a cholagogue, which means it promotes bile production in the liver. Bile is essential for breaking down fats and removing toxins from the body.
- Packed full of antioxidants – Gentian prevents cell damage and chronic disease by protecting cells from free radicals (also known as oxidative stress).
- Speeds up wound healing – When applied topically, the glycosides, alkaloids, and other compounds present in the rhizomes of Gentiana lutea have shown promising results with wound repair. 3