Gentiana lutea, Linne'. The dried rhizome and roots, yielding not less than 30 p.c. of water-soluble extractive.

Habitat. C. And S. Europe (France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, England); mountainous districts.

Syn. Yellow Gentian Root, Pale Gentian, Butter Root, Bitterwort, Felwort, Radix Gentianae Rubrae, Luteae or Majoris; Gr. Gentianae Radix; Fr. Gentiane, Racine de Gentiane (de Gentiane Jaune); Ger. Radix Gentianae, Enzianworzel, Bitterwurzel, Rother (Gelber) Enzian.

Gen-ti-a'na. L. See etymology, page 487, of Gentianaceae.

Lu'te-a. L. Luteus, golden-yellow -- i.e., the flowers.

Plant

Large perennial herb; stem thick, hollow above, .6-1.3 M. (2-4 degrees) high, yellowish-green, underground portion .6-1 M. (2-3 degrees) long, branched; leaves entire, 5-7-nerved, 15-30 Cm. (6-12') long, ovate, glabrous, yellowish-green; flowers June-Aug., numerous, cymes of 20 or more; corolla 5 Cm. (2') long, orange-yellow, spotted, 6 segments; fruit 1-celled, ovate capsule, 3 Cm. (1 1/5') long, many winged-seed. RHIZOME (root), in subcylindrical, sometimes branching pieces, of variable length, 5-40 Mm. (1/5-1 3/5') thick, yellowish-brown, rhizome annulate, roots longitudinally wrinkled; fracture short and uneven when dry, tough and flexible when damp; internally yellowish-brown, bark .5-2 Mm. (1/50-1/12') thick, separated from a spongy wood by a dark brown cambium zone; odor strong, characteristic; taste slightly sweetish, strongly and persistently bitter.

Powder

yellowish-brown -- parenchymatous cells with fragments of scalariform or reticulate tracheae, few or no starch grains and calcium oxalate crystals; no stone cells, bast- or wood-fibers. Solvents: water; diluted alcohol. Dose, gr 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).

Adulterations

Rhizome

Through carelessness-rhizomes, roots of allied species, especially G. Asclepia'dea (stone cells and prosenthymatous tissue); aconite, belladonna, white hellebore, orris (none yellow internally), Rumex alpi'nus (odor and taste distinct--bitter, astringent without gentian aroma);

Powder

Ground pine-wood almond shells, olive stones, sack and rope fibers, etc.

Commercial

Plant, remarkable for beauty and size, was used by the Greeks and Arabians, and grows in the Alps, Apennines, Pyrenees, Jura, Vosges, 900-1200 M. (3000-4000 degrees) elevation, along with veratrum album, the leaves of both closely resembling. Rhizome and roots are collected usually when in flower, washed, dried, and exported from Germany, France (Marseillees) -- our chief supply. Austria imposes a fine for collecting any less than 2 Cm. (4/5') thick at the crown--product of plants 3 years old, which insures propagation through having produced seed.

Constituents

Gentiopicrin, Gentiin, gentiogenin, CHO, gentienin, CHO, gentianose, CHO (uncrystallizable sugar) 14 p.c., resin, gum, pectin, fixed oil 6 p.c., yellow coloring matter, identical with quercitrin, ash 6 p.c.

Gentiopicrin, CHO. -- Bitter glucoside, upon which activity depends, obtained by diluting alcoholic extract with alcohol, extracting with equal weight of warm hydrous ether, evaporating to get crystals that contain 1 p.c. gentiin, which can be removed by recrystallizing from acetic ether + 2 p.c. of water; by hydrolysis yields glucose and gentiogenin (white crystals).

Gentiin, CHO. -- Crystallizes from 60 p.c. hot alcohol in yellow needles, insoluble in water, blackish-green with ferric chloride, heated with 4 p.c. of sulphuric acid splits into glucose, xylose and gentienin.

Preparations

1. Tinctura Gentianae Composita.  Compound Tincture of Gentian.  (Syn., Tr. Gentian Co.; Fr. Teinture de Gentiane composee; Ger. Zusammengesetzte Enziantinktur.)

Manufacture: 10 p.c.  Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page  104 -- using gentian 10 Gm., bitter orange peel 4 Gm., cardamom seed 1 Gm., packing moderately; lst menstruum: glycerin 10 cc., alcohol 50, water 40, finishing with diluted alcohol q.s. 100 cc.  Dose, 3j-2 (4-8 cc.).

2. Extractum Gentianae, N.F. -- yield 30 p.c. (water).  Dose, gr. 2-10 (.13-.6 Gm.).

Preps.: 1. Pilulae Antiperiodicae, N.F., q.s.  2. Pilulae Ferri, Quininae, Aloes et Nucis Vomicae, N.F., q.s.

3. Fluidextractum Gentianae, N.F. (diluted alcohol).  Dose, mv-50 (.3-2 cc.).

Preps.: 1. Elixir Gentianae, N.F., 3.5 p.c.  Dose 3j-2 (4-8 cc.).

Preps.: 1. Elixir Gentianae et Ferri, N.F., 90 p.c.  2. Elixir Gentianae et Ferri Phosphatis, N.F., 95 p.c.  Dose, each, 3j-2 (4-8 cc.).

2. Elixir Gentianae Glycerinatum, N.F., 1 p.c.  Dose, 3j-2 (4-8 cc.).

4. Infusum Gentianae Compositum, N.F., 3 p.c.  Dose, 3ij-4 (8-15 cc.).  5. Tinctura Rhei et Gentianae, N.F., 1 3/4 p.c.  6. Tinctura Amara, Bitter Stomach Drops, N.F., 6 p.c. + centaury 6, bitter orange peel 6, zedoary 2 (67 p.c. alcohol q.s.).  Dose, 3ss-1 (2-4 cc.).  7.  Tinctura Antiperiodica, N.F., 1/5 p.c.

Properties

Tonic, bitter, increases appetite, digestion (action local); large doses oppress stomach, irritate bowels, nauseate, and cause vomiting.

Uses

Dyspepsia, atonic gout, amenorrhea, hysteria, scrofula, intermittents.  G. Elliot'tii (Catesbae'i), Elliott's Gentian.--The root, U.S.P. 1820--1870; United States, grassy swamps.  Perennial herb, 20-60 Cm. (8-24') high, rough; leaves 2.5-5 Cm. (1-2') long, lanceolate, serrate; flowers Oct., blue, 4 Cm. (1 3/5') long; corolla 10 segments, 5 inner fringed; root resembles the official; constituents and uses similar; in infusion, wine, tincture.  G. purpu'rea (purplish flowers), G. pannon'ica (dark purple flowers), and G. puncta'ta (yellow, purple-dotted flowers); all grow along with official, and collected for it.