Yellow Gentian: How To Plant & Harvest

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Yellow gentian thrives particularly well at high altitudes and is one of the most important medicinal herbs for digestive complaints. Here you can learn how to grow yellow gentian properly and how it works.

Yellow gentian originally grows mainly in the high mountain meadows of the Alps, as well as in the Black Forest and the Swabian Alb. However, you should never pick it in the wild, because this gentian species is strictly protected. If you still want to use the healing power of the yellow gentian, you can simply grow it in your garden. The root of the gentian is used in medicine.

Yellow gentian: How to grow it

Yellow gentian can grow up to 150 centimeters high and is a real eye-catcher with its golden yellow flowers. You’ll need some patience, though, because it can take up to ten years for the gentian to bloom. Here are some things to keep in mind when planting yellow gentian in your garden:

  • The right location: it is important that you choose a good location for the Yellow Gentian so that it grows vigorously. It is best to plant the young plants in a sunny or semi-shady spot.
  • Calcareous soil: Yellow gentian is a mountain plant, so soil with a high lime content is particularly suitable. You can, of course, plant it in regular garden soil. However, make sure that the soil is deep, loose and free of stones. Deep means that the nutrient-rich soil layer on the surface of the soil is relatively thick.
  • Growing seedlings: plant the seedlings of yellow gentian in the spring or fall in the ground at a distance of 50 centimeters.
  • Seeds: Yellow gentian seeds can be purchased from garden stores or collected from mature gentian plants. It is best to sow the seeds in the fall, because the yellow gentian takes a long time to germinate. You can either plant the seeds directly into the bed or grow them into seedlings in a pot.

Care and harvest of the yellow gentian

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Here’s how to care for yellow gentian and harvest gentian roots:

  • Weeding: Yellow gentian grows very slowly, so you need to be careful not to let it get overgrown by weeds. Be careful when weeding, though: Gentian roots are very delicate and can be injured quickly.
  • Water moderately: Yellow gentian does not tolerate waterlogging well at all, so you should water sparingly and keep the soil just a little moist at a time.
  • Fertilize: In the fall, you can carefully mix some humus into the soil to give the Yellow Gentian a more vigorous growth habit.
  • Pests: If the soil is too wet, yellow gentian can quickly become moldy. Enemies from the animal kingdom include slugs and thrips.
  • Harvest: The best time to harvest the roots of the gentian is late autumn. Carefully dig up the root, clean it thoroughly and let it dry. To dry, cut the root once lengthwise and then hang it on a thread in a dry, warm place. The drying time varies depending on the thickness of the root, but is at least three hours.

Yellow gentian: ingredients and effect

Yellow gentian is very popular in medicine, especially because of its high content of bitter substances. The bitter substances are mainly in the root. In addition, the plant contains a lot of essential oils and dual sugars. This is how these ingredients affect the body:

Yellow gentian stimulates digestion: The bitter compounds in the plant boost the production of digestive juices, such as saliva. As a result, yellow gentian helps to revive digestion, especially in cases of gastrointestinal discomfort.
Help with loss of appetite and flatulence: Yellow gentian also stimulates the taste buds and the production of saliva, gastric juice and bile through its active ingredients. The native herb thus combats loss of appetite and provides relief from flatulence and bloating.

How to use yellow gentian

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If you want to use your own yellow gentian as a medicine, you must make sure that you use only dried roots. Fresh gentian roots can cause nausea. Yellow gentian can be taken either as a tea or as drops. Ready-made medicines with gentian are available in pharmacies, often containing other medicinal herbs such as wormwood or dandelion root.

You can easily prepare a tea from gentian root yourself:

  • Fill a small saucepan with about 150 milliliters of water and put it on the stove top.
  • Now add a teaspoon of finely chopped gentian root and boil the mixture.
  • Once the tea boils, turn off the stove and let the tea steep for about five minutes, covered.
  • Then strain the gentian tea through a sieve.
  • Drink the tea once or twice a day, always half an hour before eating.

Caution: If you suffer from a stomach or intestinal ulcer, it is better not to take yellow gentian. You should also avoid the herb during pregnancy. In addition, always pay attention to the correct dosage. If you use too much gentian, side effects such as headaches or abdominal pain may result.