Gentian, The Common Yellow, or Red; Gentiana lutea, v. rubra, is a native of the Alps, whence it was introduced into this country. It is, however, seldom cultivated in our gardens; the root, which is employed in medicine, being imported from the mountainous parts of Switzerland and Germany.
Gentian is one of the principal bitters of European growth, and has been found of considerable service in fevers, and those complaints which arise from weakness of the Stomach, and acidity in the first passages. Some years since, a poisonous root was brought to London among parcels of gentian, the use of which occasioned violent disorders, and, in two cases, death. This spurious root is con-je6tured to have been the Aconi-tum anthora, a species of the wolf's-bane, which may be easily distinguished from the gentian, by its smell, whitish colour, and want of bitterness: whereas, the true gentian is externally brown, and of a yellowish, or bright-red colour within ; has no scent, and, at first, a sweetish, but immediately after, a very bitter and pungent taste.— The dose of this drug, in powder, is from 10 to 40 grains; though it is more frequently taken as the chief ingredient in bitter wines, tinctures, and infusions.