Mind-Body Health

What Is Indian Gentian?

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Indian Gentian (Andrographis paniculata) and has been renowned in India for thousands of years for its detoxifying and anti-infectious properties. The tropical shrub has delicate pink-purple flowers that produce small fruits containing six to 12 flattened seeds. It tastes intensely bitter, which is why it’s referred to as “the king of bitters.” The bitter taste is due to iridoid glycosides.

The Potential Health Benefits of Indian Gentian

Most scientific research on Indian gentian has focused on its immune-boosting and circulatory benefits. However, Indian gentian is used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Every part of the plant has medicinal properties, and it is commonly prescribed to treat:

  • Asthma
  • Cancers
  • Colds and sore throat
  • Detoxification
  • Diabetes
  • Flu
  • Fevers
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • HIV
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Infections
  • Physical and mental exhaustion
  • Toxic liver
  • Viral hepatitis

Indian Gentian and the Doshas

In terms of the doshas, Indian gentian’s bitter taste has a drying, cooling effect on the body, which can aggravate Vata. The herb pacifies both Pitta and Kapha doshas.

How to Use Indian Gentian

Indian gentian is available in capsules (with dried herb) or extract form. For capsules, the standard dosage is 500 to 3,000 milligrams, taken three times per day. However, it’s best to follow the recommendations of your health care practitioner. In clinical studies for upper respiratory infections, the dosages of gentian extract have ranged from48 to 60 milligrams per day, divided into three or four doses.

Indian gentian may also be taken as a tea to aid indigestion. To make tea, use 1 teaspoon of the herb in 1 cup of hot water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes, and then sip it before meals.

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.