Gentiana lutea,


The dried rhizome and roots.

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

Syn. Yellow Gentian Root, Pale Gentian, Bitter Root, Bitterwort, Felwort, Radix Gentianse Rubrae, Luteae or Majoris; Br. Gentianae Radix; Fr. Gentiane, Racine de Gentiane (de Gentiane jaune); Ger. Radix Gentianae, Enzianwurzel, Bitterwurzel, Rother (Gelber) Enzian.

Gen-ti-a'na. L. see etymology, above, 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°) high, yellowish-green, underground portion .6-1 M. (2-3°) 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-seeds. Rhizome (root), in subcylindrical, sometimes branching pieces, of variable length, 5-35 Mm. (1/5-1 2/5') 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 somewhat spongy woody portion by dark brown cambium zone; odor strong, characteristic; taste slightly sweetish, strongly and persistently bitter. Powder, yellowish-brown; microscopically - parenchymatous cells with fragments of scalariform or reticulate tracheae, few or no starch grains; no stone cells or sclerenchymatous fibres. Solvents: water; diluted alcohol. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).

Adulterations. - Rhizome: Through carelessness - rhizomes, roots of allied species; aconite, belladonna, white hellebore, orris (none yellow

Fig. 313.   Gentiana lutea.

Fig. 313. - Gentiana lutea.

internally), Rumex alpi'nus (odor and taste distinct - bitter, astringent without gentian aroma); Powder: Ground pine-wood, almond shells, olive stones, sack and rope fibre, 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°) elevation, along with vera-trum album, the leaves of both closely resembling. Rhizome and roots are collected usually when in flower, washed, dried, and exported from Germany, France (Marseilles) - 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 seeds.

Constituents. - Gentiopicrin, Gentiin, gentiogenin, C10H10O4, gen-tienin, C14H10O5, gentianose, C16H6O31 (uncrystallizable sugar), 14 p. c, resin, gum, pectin, fixed oil 6 p. c, yellow coloring matter, identical with quercitrin, ash 6 p. c.

Gentiopicrin, C16H20O9. - 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, C25H28O14. - 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.

Fig. 314.   Gentian rhizome, longitudinally sliced, about one half natural size.

Fig. 314. - Gentian rhizome, longitudinally sliced, about one-half natural size.

Preparations. - 1. Extractum Gentianoe. Extract of Gentian. (Syn., Ext. Gentian.; Fr. Extrait de Gentiane; Ger. Enzianextrakt.)

Manufacture: Macerate, percolate 100 Gm. with water until exhausted, boil down to 200 Ml. (Cc.), strain, evaporate to pilular consistence; yield 30 p. c. Dose, gr. 2-10 (.13-6 Gm.).

2. Fluidextractum Gentianoe. Fluidextract of Gentian. (Syn., Fldext. Gentian, Fluid Extract of Gentian; Fr. Extrait fluide de Gentiane; Ger. Enzianfluidextrakt.)

Manufacture: Similar to Fluidextractum Sabal, page 95; menstruum: diluted alcohol. Dose, ev-30 (.3-2 Ml. (Cc.)).

3. Tinctura Gentianoe 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 101 - using gentian 10 Gm., bitter orange peel 4 Gm., cardamom seed

1 Gm., packing moderately; 1st menstruum: glycerin 10 Ml. (Cc), alcohol 50 Ml. (Cc.), water 40 Ml. (Cc.), finishing with diluted alcohol q. s. 100 Ml. (Cc.). Dose, 3j-2 (4-8 Ml. (Cc.)).

Unoff. Preps.: Elixir, 3.5 p. c. (fldext.), comp. spirit of cardamom, 1.5, sodium citrate 3, +, dose, 3 j-2 (4-8 Ml. (Cc.)). Elixir Gentianoe et Ferri - tinct. of ferric citro-chloride 10 p. c, elixir of gentian q. s. 100. Elixir Gentianoe et Ferri Phosphatis - ferric phosphate 1.75 p. c, dist. water 3.5, elixir of gentian q. s. 100. Elixir Gentianoe Glycerin-atum - fldext. of gentian 1 p. c, fldext. of taraxacum 1.5, acetic ether .05, phosphoric acid .5. Infusum Gentianoe Compositum 3 p. c, + bitter orange peel .8, coriander .8, dil. alc q. s. 25, water q. s. 100, dose, ℥ss-l (15-30 Ml. (Cc.)). Tincture, 20 p. c Alcoholic Beverage (owing to fermentable sugar).

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

Uses. - Dyspepsia, atonic gout, amenorrhoea, hysteria, scrofula, intermittents.

Allied Plants: