The True Answer to Your Stomach Problems
Bitter herbs such as gentian (pronounced gen-shun) root work well to increase stomach acid. In Europe, gentian root is often used to help digest large or fatty meals and to “increase the digestive powers” of the elderly or those with chronic disease. Gentian root contains a class of bitter compounds, one of which is called amarogentin. Bitter-tasting herbs such as gentian have a very interesting mechanism of action. Historically, bitters haves always been taken in the form of liquid, so that one would taste the bitterness. This makes sense because the tongue contains bitter receptors (as with all the different tastes).
Gentian happens to be one of the most bitter substances known. According to Rudolf Weiss, MD, the bitter taste (gentian) persists even in a dilution of 1:20,000. It is the most important of all European bitters. It is believed that when bitter receptors are stimulated, a reflex occurs where the vagus nerve becomes stimulated. This nerve is known to stimulate the digestive organs including:
*Stomach (hydrochloric acid and pepsin)
*Pancreas (digestive enzymes for protein, carbohydrates, and fats)
*Liver and gallbladder (digest fats)
Studies have found that gentian stimulates stomach function. One study involving 205 people found that gentian root gave quick and dramatic relief of constipation, flatulence, appetite loss, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal pain and nausea.
The dosage for gentian is ten to twenty drops in a small amount of water (2 ounces) five to fifteen minutes before meals (allows the digestive juices to kick in before you eat). Gentian is still helpful to stimulate the digestive system when taken with or shortly after meals.