Long Dan Cao – Chinese Gentian Root – “Dragon Gallbladder Herb” – Gentiana scabra, G. triflom, G. manshurica, G. regescens

Nature: bitter, cold

Enters: Liver, Gallbladder, Stomach

Actions: Clears heat and dries dampness from the liver and gallbladder; reduces liver fire.

• Liver/gallbladder heat or damp-heat: costal or hypochondriac pain, headache, bitter taste in the mouth, red eyes, diminished hearing, jaundice, leukorrhea, eczema, herpes, itchiness and swelling of the external genitalia. For all damp-heat disorders of the external genitalia.
• Damp-heat in the upper gallbladder channel: red, swollen sore throat and eyes, swollen and painful ears, sudden deafness.
• Liver fire: headache, red eyes, flank pain.
• Liver wind-heat: fever, spasms, convulsions, flank pain.
• Taken (a half hour) before a meal, it increases gastric secretions, taken after a meal, it reduces them.
MLT: Cholecystitis, inflammatory pain, testicle swelling.
• Also for liver wind: spasms, dizziness, fever, convulsions, moving pains and sores on the liver channel.
Hsu: Antiphlogistic, antipyretic.
Yoga: Kirata, Katuki, Trayamana: bitter/cooling/pungent; P, K-; V+
• Bitter tonic, antipyretic, alterative, antibacterial, anthelmintic, laxative.
• For fever, debility after fever, jaundice, hepatitis, enlarged liver or spleen, genital herpes, acne, rashes, obesity, ulcers, venereal sores, diabetes, cancer.
• One of the best anti-Pitta herbs.
• Not to be used when there is no fever or inflammation or high Pitta or excess fat.
• Not for Vata-type debility, nervousness, muscle spasm, hypoglycemia.
RW: (various Euro-Asian species) A pure bitter (the bitter taste is detectable even at a dilution of 1:20,000). Contains no tannin – no astringent or irritant effect. Stimulates gastric secretions and motility and improves tone. It is active as soon as it is absorbed through the mouth’s mucus membranes.
• Caution with a sensitive stomach with excess acid – it can aggravate hyperacidity. Mainly indicated for achylic and atonic conditions.
JC: (G. lutea – Western species) Tonic, stomachic, febrifuge, emmenagogue, anthelmintic (vermifuge), antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, emetic (large dose), sialogogue, antibilious, antiperiodic, antivenemous.
• One of most valuable bitter tonics and best strengtheners of the human system. Gentian stores vast quantities of condensed oxygen in its roots – the source of its bitterness and exhilarating tonic action. It is a revitalizing tonic and stomachic for physical exhaustion from chronic ailments, general debility, female weakness, digestive weakness, lack of appetite. Intensely bitter, but generally easily received by stomach, wherein it tones the liver without influencing the secretion of bile.
• For atonic gout, amenorrhea, anemia, bites, bruises, cancer (early), chills, chronic indigestion, colds, diarrhea, dizziness, dyspepsia, exhaustion, fainting, fevers, general debility (especially digestive), hysteria, infections, intermittent fevers, jaundice, lameness, liver troubles, malaria, scanty urine, scrofula, side aches, sprains, suppressed menstruation, worms, wounds.
• Common dose for the above indications: 1-2 teaspoons of a strong decoction in a small amount of water, an hour before meals.
• When possible, combine it with an aromatic herb, such as mint.
MW: Can be used for either a lack or excess of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
• Mental state of the gentian patient: self doubt, depression, lack of good instincts or lack of trust in one’s instincts, panic (as in anaphylactic shock) – pale, sweaty, scared.

Dose: 3-12g

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