GentianAe Radix. The root of Gentiana Lutea. Nat. Ord. Gentianaceae. Linn. Syst. Pentandria Digynia. Source, The Alps, Apennines, and other mountainous districts of Europe.
Med. Prop. and Action. A pure, bitter tonic. It is best given in infusion, tincture, or extract. Its activity depends upon a bitter principle, Gentianite. It also contains a crystallizable principle, Gentianin. Gentian acts without causing astringency (indeed, it has occasionally a laxative effect); neither is it a stimulant; but, taken in moderate doses, it increases the tone of the digestion, improves the appetite, and strengthens the constitution. By long-continued use, it is said to communicate a bitter taste to the urine, and cutaneous secretion. It has been asserted that it exercises a specific influence on the cerebro-spinal system, occasionally producing poisonous effects; but I have given it largely, in a great number of cases, for several years, and have never observed any ill effects result even from its long-continued use. It has been reputed vermifuge. Dr. Aveling§ has proposed the use of Gentian Root in the manufacture of tents, in treating partial occlusion of the Cercix Uteri. He speaks of them as cheap, simple, and efficacious.
Ojffic. Prep. 1. Extractum GentianAe (Sliced Gentian lb. j.; Boiling bis-tilled Water Cj. Prepared by maceration, subsequent boiling, and evaporation). Dose, gr. v. - gr. x.
1/4; Bruised Bitter Orange Peel grs. xxx.; Coriander grs. xxx.; Proof spirit fl. oz. ij.: Cold Distilled Water fl. oz. viij. Prepared by macaration for two hours in the Spirit, and then in the Spirit and Water for two hours more). Dose, fl. oz. as. - fl. oz. j. This is the same as the Infusion of the Edin. Pharm.
iss.; Bitter Orange Peel cut small and bruised oz. 3/4; Cardamoms bruised oz. 1/4; Proof Spirit Oj. Prepared by maceration and percolation). Dose, fl. drm. j. - fl. drs. ij.
* Op. cit.
Association Med Journ., June 28, 1854.
§ Med. Times, Juno 26, 1858.
Infusnm GentianAe Compositum (Pharm. Lond.). Sliced Gentian, Dried Orange Peel aa 3ij.; Lemon Peel 3iv.; Boiling Distilled Water Oj. Macerate for an hour in a covered vessel and strain. (Mr. Squire observes that this is superior to the preceding Compound Infusion of the Brit. Pharm. The latter partakes more of the character of a weak Tincture.) Dose, f j. - fij.
Dose of Powdered Gentian, gr. x. - gr. xxx.
It it contra-indicated in febrile disorders, and inflammatory conditions of the gastro intestinal membrane. (Pereira.)
In Debility, and Diseases accompanied by Debility, Gentian is one of the most generally useful remedies in the Materia Medica. It may be advantageously combined with Spt. Ammon. Arom. or Ammon. Carb.
1308. In Atonic Dyspepsia, and in the Dyspepsia of Gouty subjects, the Tincture, given in some aromatic water, is very valuable as a stomachic and tonic. It may be advantageously combined with alkalies and sedatives.
* He advises its being combined with equal parts of Galls and Tormentilla. It is now rarely employed. Dr. Chavasse. of the French Navy, speaks highly of the powers of Gentian as a prophylactic in the Malarious Fevers of Guiana. He considers that it neutralizes the miasmatic poison, if taken before any pathological manifestation of marsh fever is developed. For this purpose he gives the Tincture in brandy twice daily. He remarks that the addition of the alcohol is important, for it excites the energies of the nervous system so as to make it accessible to the operation of the Gentian.
1310. In Scrofula, Richeraud extols the following formula: - Infus. Gent, fvj., SodAe Carb., Ammon. Carb. aa gr. xxxvj.,
M. Beyond improving the digestive system, it does not appear probable that it could in any way influence the disease. For the Dyspepsia of Scrofulous subjects, it is a good formula.