Gentiana lutea

Homeopath Ralf Jeutter shares a summary of the main points of his proving of Gentiana lutea, including its botany, history in the medical literature,  medicinal use, pharmacology, toxicology and provings.

The remedy Gentiana lutea has been around for a long time, but has only been used in a very limited way due to the sparse homeopathic information which was gathered about this remedy. As part of the MMPP (Materia Medica Pura Project) (German version) and (information in English) I researched the remedy in more detail, collected information which was scattered in the literature, and conducted a proving, which led to a much fuller and interesting picture of this remedy. The Materia Medica Pura Project has been in operation since 2005 under the guidance of André Saine and the help of many colleagues from around the world. Its remit is to update the two most important tools used by homeopathic practitioners, namely the materiamedica and the repertory, and to make sure that the materiamedica work of Samuel Hahnemann, Constantine Hering and TF Allen is continued today.

This monograph on Gentiana lutea is a summary of the main points regarding this remedy as to botany, its history in the medical literature, its medicinal use, pharmacology, toxicology and provings. Since it is still a manageable amount to study for the reader, the proving(s) have been given in their entirety. A so-called genius of the remedy has been provided in order to highlight the main points of this remedy.Currently, additions to the repertory are being prepared.

Gentiana lutea (Great Yellow Gentian) is a species of native to the of central and southern . Other names include ‘Yellow Gentian’, ‘Bitter Root’, ‘Bitterwort’, ‘Centiyane’, and ‘Genciana’.

 

Gentiana in history and medical literature Theophrastus and Hippocrates were not familiar with Gentiana lutea. However, Dioscorides, Plinius, Celsius, Scrobinius Largo and Galenus have written extensively on this plant. To them it was a remedy against bites of poisonous animals, against pains in the sides, liver and stomach complaints, cramps, inner tearingsand injuries from falls. Externally it was used against ulcers, haemorrhages and wounds. Plinius reported that the best Gentian grows in Illyria; one can assume that he means Gentiana lutea in this case. Galenus recommends Gentiana lutea, especially in gout. Also the herbal books of the Middle Ages had high praise for this plant. Bock and Matthiolus dealt with it in great detail, and Leonhart Fuchs writes: ‘[…] to summarise, the root of Gentian and the juice thereof […] cures constipation. It is a remedy for a whole range of poisons and is very good for the stomach.’ The old literature (Siemering, Gesenius, Lenhardt) reports the use of Gentiana lutea in cases of intermittent fever. Before the introduction of China, Gentiana lutea is, according to Gesenius, the best remedy for this condition.

Medicinal use The Modern Herbal states: ‘All the known species are remarkable for the intensely bitter properties residing in the root and every part of the herbage, hence they are valuable tonic medicines. That most commonly used in Europe is Gentiana lutea, the Yellow Gentian. The root of this species is the principal vegetable bitter employed in medicine, though the roots of several other species, including our native ones, are said to be equally efficacious. Before the introduction of hops, Gentian, with many other bitter herbs, was used occasionally in brewing.’

Pharmacology The root is , , , , , , , refrigerant and . It is taken in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, and . It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal . The root, which can be over 5 cm thick and has few branches, is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in . Caution should be exercised as to its use because it is endangered, and the closely related shares many of its constituents and actions.

Amarogentin and gentiopicrin, the bitter glycosides from gentian root

Extracts of gentian root can be found in the , and its unique flavor is attributed to that fact. It is also used in France to produce a Limousin speciality liqueur and aperitif, with plants gathered from the Auvergne area. (Wikipedia)

Chemical constituents‘The dried Gentian root of commerce contains Gentiin and Gentiamarin, bitter glucosides, together with Gentianic acid (gentisin), the latter being physiologically inactive. Gentiopicrin, another bitter glucoside, a pale yellow crystalline substance, occurs in the fresh root, and may be isolated from it by treatment with boiling alcohol. The saccharine constituents of Gentian are dextrose, laevulose, sucrose and gentianose, a crystallizable, fermentable sugar. It is free from starch and yields from 3 to 4 per cent ash.’ (A Modern Herbal)

Poisonings

  1. There can now be little doubt that genito-picrine, the true active principle of G., is a bitter closely allied to quinine, alike in physiological and in therapeutic action.

The effects of an overdose of G. itself are dullness, weight in head, oppression of forehead, and slight giddiness; symptoms, in fact, much resembling those induced by Cinchona.

The face becomes flushed, and the conjunctivae are injected.

The bowels are relaxed, and the stools have a bilious character.

It is probable that, besides the genito-picrine, there is some volatile ingredient in G. which has a slightly inebriant action, since Planché states that water distilled over pure G. possesses the latter quality. (PHILLIPS, op. cit.) [source not found]

When searching for poisoning reports of Gentiana Lutea, one finds also poisoning reports of Veratrum Album, because they can be confused with each other.

Genius of Gentiana lutea

Depression

Disinclination to talk

Anger

Irritability

Weeping easily

Difficulty concentrating

Desire to be alone

Confusion

Vertigo

Sensation of heaviness

Sensation of heat

Sensitivity (general, skin, emotional)

Pressing pains

Constricting pains

Pulsating pains

Stitching pains

Violent nausea

Sensation of warmth and heat.

Itching.

Soreness.

Burning sensations.

Irritability (physical as well as mental).

Raw sensation.

Redness.

Dryness (mouth, skin).

Bitter taste.

Increased mucus production.

Swelling of mucous membranes.

Thickened, tough mucous.

Ravenous hunger. Increased appetite.

Eructations. Violent eructations.

Stomach pains with nausea.

Faintness in stomach.

Weakness.

Sensation of a stone lying in the stomach.

Sensation of lump in stomach.

Bloating, distention of stomach, abdomen.

Hardness, tightness of stomach.

Thirst for cold water.

Sudden dizziness with weakness.

Pains immediately after eating.

Eating aggravates.

Pains (sore, pressing inward, sensitive to touch and pressure) in umbilical region.

Rumbling, gurgling in abdomen.

Violent, cutting colic.

Urging for stool.

Sudden urging for stool.

Diarrhoea.

Evacuations mushy, watery, yellow, soft, pasty.

Shortness of breath.

Sensation of fullness and pressure.

Motion aggravates (headache, back pain, pain in limbs).

Coldness (on back, lower legs, hands, feet)

Provings

There are both, Gentiana lutea and Gentianacruciataprovings. The symptomatology is so similar that it is warranted to conflate the information.

The following sources have been found:

Kleinert, G.O., Quellennachweis der physiologischen Arzneimittelpruefungen, Leipzig 1863. (Record of sources of the physiological provings). In them he mentions Gentiana-l., and the sources Buchner, Watzke and Wibmer.

Buchner, Hygea, 14, 1; “D., ” a young man, took repeated [this is where the text in the EH stops. In the book edition it continues:] doses of tincture, 150 drops, first day, 250 second day, 350 third day, 450 morning at 2,3 and 4pm, fifth day.

“E.” took repeated large doses of tincture, ibid.;

  1. T. took a tablespoonful of tincture, ibid.;

Watzke, Oest. Zeit. f. Hom., 1, pt. 3, p. 140, took 12 drops of tincture, afterwards doses of 12 to 50 drops, afterwards one dose of 100 drops.

Wibmer: Die Arzneimittel, V. 2.

Villard, J.C., Schmidt, P., Gentiana-l. proving, GHL 1984; 21:269-271. (Original: J.C.Villard: Une experimentation medicamenteuse, de type homeopathique, a titre d’experienceindividuelle).

R.Jeutter: Proving of Gentiana-l. in 2016 (11 provers, potencies 30C, 200C and 1M). (Abbreviation RJ)

Mind

Inclination to cry and disinclination to talk. 38

Emotionally a bit depressed and low in motivation. (RJ 4, day 3)

I want to know why I am getting up. Otherwise I’d much rather stay in bed. (RJ 5, day 5)

A bit depressed and lonely, especially in the afternoon. Feeling there is no aim or direction in my life. (RJ 4, day 13)

Bad mood. 38

Irritated and angry about the stupidity of others. (RJ 6, day 2)

I am incredibly irritated in the evening. Everything bothers me. Bad mood. (RJ 6, day 2)

I have strong emotional outbreaks and am very angry. I can hardly restrain my anger, and want to ideally leave my family, especially the children. These strong feelings throw me off balance. Feeling as if I have left my track, and I can’t get back anymore. (RJ 11, day 4)

After an outburst of anger I eat meat which I don’t want, nor do I like the taste and it makes me feel worse. (RJ 11, day 4).

Beautiful long day and evening. Out of the blue I am in a very bad mood. My partner sits at the table, and looks at his mobile phone. I am cooking in a rough, uncaring kind of way. The food looks like garrison food or stuff one eats in schools in America.  I just slop it on the plate. I put the food on the table and my partner still looks at his mobile phone. I am immediately in a very bad mood. I am very angry, cutting und hurtful. I say ‘bon appetit!‘, eat quickly, get up immediately and leave to have a shower. I can’t get out of this state, I feel distanced. I can’t let it go. I am biting (mood-wise). Later on I am deeply sad about my actions and my heart hurts as if gripped and it burns. (RJ 6, day 8)

In the evening I am in a bad mood. A similar state as the last fit. Dominance is repugnant, all men are repugnant. It feels very strong, it’s not bearable. The anger comes from deep down, and I want to beat it out of me. Most of the time I can’t speak. In-between ugly sentences come out. I can’t stand myself and I go to bed. Crying, thoughts of suicide. The world is a better place without me. Violent crying. I can hardly catch my breath. Deepest despair. I cry until I can’t breathe anymore. Dry mouth. My partner holds me tight and it feels good. It is the feeling as if something really bad happened and one cannot speak about it. Violence, abuse. It is being suppressed and then comes out really badly. Again I feel reminded of the parents of my mother. They have experienced heavy stuff. Violence, death, abuse and they were nasty to each other. (RJ 6, day 26).

Sensitive to noise and light. I try to sleep, and my partner irritates me making noises. (RJ 6, day 2)

Hyperideation, mental excitation with insomnia. Villard

Horrible night awake at 1:15 and 3am; tired most of the day with feeling of not being fully in the body — everything just happens not to me but to someone else. Quiet and do not care just to sit and look uninterested and feeling detached. (RJ 4, day 10)

Found it difficult to spell properly. (RJ 1, after 1.5 hours)

Relaxed but feeling feistier. (RJ 1 day 1)

Feeling more assertive. (RJ 1, day 1)

Have had low levels of anxiety and feeling spacey for several years, which have been alleviated. (RJ 1, day 7)

Altogether I am very relaxed. (RJ 5, day 4).

Anxiety and spacey feeling returning. (RJ 1, day 10)

Broke a fear barrier enabling me to move on – I say what is in the heart which I did not manage to say before out of fear. (RJ 4, day 1)

More power but seemed a bit detached from my body and emotionally. (RJ 4, day 5)

When something unpleasant or unexpected happens, I just wait and observe, without any thoughts. (RJ 5, day 2).

I listen to conversations without thoughts. (RJ 5, day 4)

Had fight with my ex and was quite aggressive and nasty – felt bad and with a cloud of negativity around me afterward. (RJ 4, day 8)

Worse in energy level and ability to concentrate. (RJ 4, day 13)

I can’t remember when I started the proving. I am forgetful. (RJ 5, day 2).

I can’t concentrate. (RJ 5, day 7).

I am forgetful, and at times I can’t concentrate at all. (RJ 5, day 5)

The remedy gives me a good focus, allows me to do things calmly and effectively (RJ 7, throughout the proving).

Strange feeling in head, something ‘draws’ through my head, great tiredness during the day, arrive at home in the evening and can work in a very focussed and concentrated way (which wasn’t the case recently). This state lasts for the next few days. (RJ 9, day 1)

Inner tension, and yet I have to giggle. (RJ 5, day 1)

I don’t want to sort something out and talk. I want to concentrate. I make a mistake when transferring money, and can’t get to grips with the figures. (RJ 5, day 2).

In the evening, my husband comes up to me and kisses me, he wants to cuddle. I say: ‘Leave me alone, I want to sort this out. And our son may wake up.’ (RJ 5, day 2).

I like to be on my own, and sort things out by myself. (RJ 5, day 7).

I don’t want to see anyone but my partner. (RJ 6, day 4)

Sensitive to criticism. (RJ 6, day 8)

(Very deep process, as in a family constellation: I realise through talks that I feel reminded of my family. My father, if he was there at all for dinner, often read the newspaper or something else during the meal. There was often a tension between my parents, hardly any conversations, and if so, what we achieved at school. My mother’s mother was together with an alcoholic, even when their children were already adults, until she couldn’t bear his drinking and his beatings anymore. Later in life she took him back, but on her conditions. From then on she was the boss. Began to beat him down. My own tone reminded me of my grandmother, and the tension of the silence between my parents). (RJ 6, day 8)

We are expecting guests, who will arrive very soon, and I am totally organised. Ironing, stitching. I can get a lot of things done. No, I say to my partner, I have no time to organise the holiday, there are more important things to do! (RJ 6, day 22).

Organising things is easy. I find it remarkable how easily I complete the tasks. Packing the suitcase is done quickly, without stress, the house is being tidied up completely. That is important for me. Rubbish is being put outside, vacuum cleaning is done, I water the flowers, and everything is washed and tidied up. (RJ 11, day 2)

Wake up in a fragile state. Cleaning the house feels good, spring feelings. This remedy asks me to keep things together. Keep on trucking. Company of friends is beneficial, fire, billiards, singing. I have the feeling that the crying in the night before has resolved a lot. This is the way out. To go into the heart, to feel, to cry. (RJ 6, day 27).

Period comes after 26 days, 2 days later than normal. In comparison to how it normally is I feel good, and can do lots of things. I feel clear and organised. When I have my period I can often not walk on the second day and can hardly stand. This time it wasn’t like that. Abdominal cramps, but not as violent as usual. (RJ 6, day 31).

Cheerfulness and lightness during the day, calmness. (RJ 7, day 1)

Rhyming without end. (RJ 7, day 1).

Before taking the remedy again, the desire to make everything beautiful, tidy up, air the rooms. (RJ 7, day 1).

I am gentler to myself and others. (RJ 7, day 7)

It is as if the remedy brings me to myself, to my abilities, to my internal self, to my joy, my creativity, or to put it another way: it brings my inner child together with my adult self together with my current creativity. (RJ 7, day 7).

In the evening feeling of total happiness. (RJ 8, day 8, 3rd dose)

Striking topic for me this week: How much do I give of myself? Do I give more than is appropriate? ‘Yes, all of you, just take, because I am fine’. I carry out dental treatments and ask little money for it. My most preferred option would be to simply give my work away. And then there is a tick on my leg! On the first day after having taken the remedy I was in the forest. I thought about ticks, but didn’t take that topic seriously. Or rather, I dismissed it internally. Since taking the remedy I cry easily. Resonance with others when singing, harmonies of voices, and immediately my tears pour down. At times I can’t sing because I am so touched. (RJ 10, day 1, 200C).

My husband and I have a row over a parking space, and I am willing to get divorced. It pains me in my heart (but I can’t get back on track). I can feel my heart as an organ and also its exact location. I cry for more than an hour and can hardly get out of this state. Everything seems hopeless, and I could simply throw it all away and leave. I can only calm the kids down with great effort. My head tells me that I don’t want to leave, but everything feels so dead, that it becomes totally real that I want to leave the family. A talk with my husband is not at all possible. He is like a stranger. (RJ 11, day 4)

My thoughts are: I can’t do it anymore, I don’t want to do it anymore, it is too much for me. I have the feeling of having failed. Also when waking up again stomach pains and slight nausea. It is too much for me! In this kind of state life is no fun anymore and I can’t cope with all the work anymore. The dishes stack up and the clothes for ironing accumulate, and I seem to play catch-up all of the time. I tell the kids if they don’t help I would ideally leave everything undone and simply walk out. (RJ 11, day 13)

Vertigo

Confusion and emptiness of the head, especially dull pressing outward in the frontal region (first day). 36

Confusion and heaviness of the head, with tensive, pressive pain in the forehead (second day). 36

Confusion in the forehead (second, fourth, and fifth days). 36

Confusion of the head. 38

Slight vertigo (fifth day). 38

Vertigo. 38

Some dizziness of the head (second day). 36

Since three days vertigo, especially when getting up from squatting. (RJ 5, day 4).

Suddenly dizzy, while sitting, sudden perspiration with weak feeling in stomach. (RJ 8, day 1, after two hours)

I wake up at night from the pain: again intense stomach pains and nausea and slight vertigo. (RJ 11, day 13).

Head

Head feels as after intoxication (second day). 36

Head feels dull, heavy, and full, as if enlarged (fourth day). 36

Heaviness and confusion of the head when writing (after two hours, first day). 36

Still a horrible headache, with slight right nostril bleeding. The headache got better by about 11ish but I still have heaviness in my head. (RJ 2, day 2, on waking up)

Heat and confusion of the head (fifth day). 36

In bed the headache disappeared. 38

Painful tearing at the mastoid process behind the ear; sensitivity of whole head and brain, worse during strong movement of head. 38

Right side of head behind ear pain to right temple. (RJ 1, after 1 hour)

Pressure pain on skull behind left ear on chewing. (RJ 1, day 1)

Headache worse on exertion of eyes and continuous thinking. 38

During the period headache as if the head was too full, and sensation as if the skull is driven apart, better at rest, worse motion, preventing falling asleep. 38

I have terrible headaches as if the head is being pressed from outside and at the same time explodes from inside. When I sleep nausea and headache are gone, as soon as I wake up they come back. (RJ 2, day 2)

When he compelled to sit still for a longer period of time he experienced a constriction in the head. 38

Fullness and dull pressure, like a heavy throbbing in the head, especially a pressure from within outward in the forehead (fourth day). 38

Pulsating headache in forehead, temples, violent nausea with the desire to throw up, but it’s not possible. Lay down to sleep in afternoon, woke up at 9pm, worked a little, then slept again, woke up at about 3am, an hour awake, then slept again. (RJ 7, day 7)

Pressing pain on right side of head and ear and neck better from pressure. (RJ 1, day 2)

Slight headache like a pressure from the middle of the head (crown) with a tender neck. (RJ 4, day 8)

End of the day headache (pressure from top with weakness felt around the eyes). (RJ 4, day 11)

Pressure on back of skull better from change of position. (RJ 1, day 1)

Dragging and pressure in the forehead (fifth day). 36

Pressure in the forehead after 12 o’clock (fourth day). 36

Sticking in the middle of the forehead (fourth day). 36

With that pressure in forehead and pulsating carotid arteries.38

Pressing in forehead. 38

Pressing pain in the temples. 36

Pressing pain in the occiput in the afternoon (third day). 36

Pressing in both temples. 38

Sensation of pressure in the temples. 38

Right temple shooting pain for a second. (RJ 1, day 1)

Pain on left side of the back of my head. (RJ 1, day 1)

After 7 hours, about 5:30pm I felt so sleepy that I could not keep my eyes open and if I did not sleep I would suffer from headaches. I usually never have headaches. The headache was mostly behind my eyes. Especially on my right side. I slept from 6:30pm to 9:00pm but still did wake up with headache. 11:30pm headache moved to the back of my head and also my forehead. (RJ 2, day 1)

Pain in the forehead, stitching, boring, between the eyes. (RJ 9, day 21).

Sudden stitch through left temple. 38

Pulsating headache in forehead, temples, violent nausea with the desire to throw up, but it’s not possible. Lay down to sleep in afternoon, woke up at 9pm, worked a little, then slept again, woke up at about 3am, an hour awake, then slept again. (RJ 7, day 7)

Stitching headache, right side of brain, next to temple. It’s difficult to tie my shoelaces (bending aggravates) (RJ 8, day 1).

In the morning, after getting up headache, which lasts all day with extreme tension in neck. Headache disappears in evening. (RJ 8, day 3)

Strange feeling in head, something ‘draws’ through my head, great tiredness during the day, arrive at home in the evening and can work in a very focussed and concentrated way (which wasn’t the case recently. This state lasts for the next few days). (RJ 9, day 2)

For a short time, in the afternoon I got headaches, as if two plugs are being applied to the back of my head. With conscious breathing it disappears after roughly 15 minutes, and does not recur after that. (RJ 11, day 2)

Headache, it already starts shortly after taking the remedy. Pain starts at the back of the head, only on the left side, it then moves to the right, then it moves to the front (area forehead), right side, then to the front on the left side (into the forehead). Then it moves to the back again, first left, then right. I never had this before. (RJ 9, day 1, second dose).

Later irritating tension and transitory twitching in the vertex area. The tension passed over into a sensitive, permanent pressure. 38

Eye

Pressure in the eyes (fifth day). 36

Pressing in sensation in the right eye. 38

Pressure in the eyeballs (second day). 36

In the eyes she had a sensation as if they were lying deeper in the orbita. 38

Sticking in the left upper lid (fourth day). 36

Conjunctiva slightly red, with pain in the eyes, at 4 P.M. (fourth day). 36

Obscuration of the vision, so that he could not see the person with whom he was talking, disappearing after a few moments (after three hours). 36

When reading the writing seemed blurred as if overlain by gauze. 38

Within seconds warm feeling from nose to corner of left eye. (RJ 1, day 1)

Right eye twinges. (RJ 1, after 1 hour)

Left eye twitching. (RJ 1, after 45 minutes)

Sore eyes. (RJ 1, day 2)

Itching of both eyelids, more left. The whole face burns and itches, especially around and under the eyes. (RJ 6, day 3).

Ears

Ringing in ears, like mild tinnitus for 2 minutes. (RJ 1, day 1)

Tinnitus for a few seconds. (RJ 1, day 1)

More tinnitus, which faded to the sensation of disturbance in the air. (RJ 1, day 1)

Pain in left ear. (RJ 1, day 1)

Left outer ear slight dull pain. (RJ 1, day 1)

Pressing pain on right side of head and ear and neck better from pressure. (RJ 1, day 2)

My right ear is slightly fuzzy as well. (RJ 2, day 1)

Suddenly something changes in my ear. I hear less clear (loud), instead of that a continuous beeping tone. Goes away after a short time. These noises are still there after 9 days. I only notice them when still, when lying down, in the evening or morning in bed. There is a small, quiet continuous beeping tone, which sometimes changes or disappears with swallowing. I never had this before. (RJ 9, day 2).

Nose

Stoppage of the nose (fourth day). 36

Frequent sneezing. 38

Frequent sneezing, sometimes three times in a row. (RJ 6, day 1)

Irritability of the nostrils, as if he had been suffering from coryza, soon followed by watery discharge from the nose, which obliged him to sneeze (soon after 600 drops). 36

Within seconds warm feeling from nose to corner of left eye (RJ 1, day 1)

Mucus in back of nose.  (RJ 1, after 45 minutes)

Back of nose still got a lot of mucus (RJ 1, day 1)

Back of the nose and uvula raw. Sore feeling with mucus. (RJ 1, after 45 minutes)

Itchy on right frontal area of the nose, and right and left base of skull at neck area. (RJ 1, after 1 hour)

Inside left nostril, sharp needle-like pain for a second. (RJ 1, after 1.5 hours)

Still a horrible headache, with slight right nostril bleeding. (RJ 2, day 2)

Woke up with right nostril bleeding. (RJ 2, day 3)

Again woke up with a nose bleed right side. But it was very little. (RJ 2, day 4)

About the author

Ralf Jeutter

Ralf Jeutter

Ralf Jeutter Ph.D. practises and teaches homeopathy in Brighton and London. He trained in Manchester (UK) and the Institute of Clinical Research in Mumbai and Pune, India.  http://www.thehomeopath.org.uk
Integral Clinic, 2 Wilbury Crescent, Hove BN3 6FL T.01273 775559

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