Medicinal plants


The genus Gentiana

The Gentiana genus belongs to the Gentianaceae family, and includes over 400 different species of plants, which have some similar characteristics. What most unites the various species is that Gentiana plants usually grow in mountainous areas, and are widespread in Europe and Asia. All produce beautiful funnel-shaped flowers, of various colors, but mainly turn blue, so much so that the particular shade that some of the corollas of the genus assume is called gentian blue. The name seems to derive from that of Genzio, a king of Illyria who lived in the first century BC, who according to Pliny the Elder was the first to identify the therapeutic virtues of the species belonging to the Gentiana genus. Among these species there is also the Gentiana acaulis,

The characteristics of gentianella

Gentianella gets this nickname from the fact that it is a smaller species than the others of the genus. In fact, it usually does not exceed fifteen centimeters in height, although it is more frequently around five; it is a spontaneous species very widespread in the Alps and the Apennines, in Italy, but which can also be found in Spain, in the Pyrenees, and throughout central and southern Europe. Generally, gentianella grows between 1,700 and 3,000 meters above sea level, on siliceous soils (unlike Gentiana clusii, which is very similar, but grows on calcareous soils). Although the gentianella is a small plant, it is not easy to go unnoticed due to its large flowers, which are calyx-shaped, and of a violet blue color.

Other characteristics of gentianella

The flowers of the gentian are characterized not only by their color, but also by the fact that they are inserted directly on the apex of the plant, and hence the botanical name, acaulis, or without stem. The leaves have a serrated edge, and are two to five centimeters long. The flowering period of gentianella is from May to August, but can vary depending on the altitude at which it grows. Although it is a spontaneous species, nothing prevents you from planting it, for ornamental purposes, in your garden. The best time for planting is between September and May. Subsequently, the plant must be watered every ten days, avoiding stagnation of water, and it must be given a fertilizer rich in potassium. Gentianella can be put in pots, but also in flowerbeds, and is ideal for borders and rock gardens.

Genzianella: The therapeutic virtues of gentianella

The healing properties of the Gentiana genus, known since ancient times, are also present in the gentian plant. In order to exploit them, the plant must be harvested, except the roots, when it is in bloom. Afterwards, it is left to dry in the air, and then it is preserved either in paper bags, or in glass jars left open. For what purposes can it be used? Its main property is digestive: in fact, gentianella is also often used to prepare bitters and liqueurs. Infused flowers are an excellent after-meal herbal tea. In addition, gentianella contains bitter glycosides, which also serve as antipyretics and febrifuges. In fact, this plant was widely used, before the discovery of quinine, to treat intermittent fevers. Other uses that gentianella can have are also for cosmetic purposes,

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