There is no better way to understand the expression “to have guts” than looking at the medicinal properties of gentian, a genus of flowering plants that grow in alpine habitats in temperate regions of Asia, Europe and the Americas. Generally used in herbal medicine to treat digestive problems, gentian is also one of the 38 plants that are used to prepare Bach flower remedies, being recommended for those who are easily discouraged.
There are several species of gentian that are used in tinctures for their beneficial effects on the digestive system. These are: Gentiana cruciata, a plant of small size, reaching on average 20-40 cm in height, with erect stems and large, ovate-lanceolate leaves about 3-8 cm long and flowers like violet-blue trumpets with 4 petals, clustered in the axils of upper leaves; Gentiana lutea, a plant growing to 1-2 m tall, with broad lanceolate to elliptic leaves, 10-30 cm long and 4-12 cm broad, and yellow flowers that have the corolla separated nearly to the base into 5–7 narrow petals; and Gentiana asclepiadea, one of the larger species within the genus, with trumpet-shaped, deep blue flowers, and leaves whorled around particularly vigorous shoots on stems that generally arch elegantly outward from the base of the plant between 60-90 cm in length.
The main uses of these species of gentian are:
– gall bladder crisis, biliary dyskinesia, biliary migraine and prevention of biliary lithiasis;
– chronic and acute hepatitis and recovery from sequelae of hepatitis;
– indigestion and nausea;
– gastric anacidity and hypoacid gastritis;
– bloating, dyspepsia and atonic constipation;
Gentian has also proved beneficial in hypothyroidism and during periods of intense physical activity, having a clear stimulating effect on metabolism.
The other guts
The gentian used by dr. Edward Bach for his remedy is from the species Gentiana amarella, a short biennial plant with elliptical to lanceolate leaves and flowers like purplish bells between 12 and 22 mm long. The remedy is generally used for that dispiritedness we feel when things don’t go the way we want them to go. But a true Gentian personality is always sceptic and depressed and has a strong tendency towards seeing only what could go wrong for themselves, for their families, and for the whole society and, in extreme cases, doesn’t feel comfortable unless actively worrying over something. And there is also a temporary Gentian state that can come about as a result of extreme circumstances (such as the death of a loved one, a prolonged period of unemployment or a lingering illness).
Preparation and administration
Maceration extract – add 2 teaspoons of root powder in a glass of cold water and leave it for 8-10 hours at room temperature before you sift it. Drink 1-3 glasses a day, before a meal.
Mixed infusion – add 2 teaspoons of root powder in a glass of cold water and leave it for 8-10 hours at room temperature before you sift it. Put the powder left after the sifting in a cup of hot boiled water and let steep until the infusion cools off. Sift the infusion, combine the two liquors and drink the blend throughout the day.
Tincture – add 20 tablespoons of root powder in a jar and mix it with alcohol 50% until the alcohol level is 2 cm above that of the powder. Close the jar ant let the mixture macerate for 12 days before you sift it. Store the liquor in small dark colored bottles. Take 1 teaspoon 4 times a day.