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(S) Kirata, Katuki, Trayamana (several bitter herbs are used almost as equivalents and so the nomenclature is not entirely specific)

(C) Long dan cao

Part Used: root

Energetics: bitter/cooling/pungent PK- V+

Tissues: plasma, blood, muscle, fat

Systems: circulatory, digestive

Actions: bitter tonic, antipyretic, alterative, antibacterial, anthelmintic, laxative

Indications: fever, debility after fevers, jaundice, hepatitis, enlargement of liver and spleen, genital herpes, acne, rash, obesity, ulcers, venereal sores diabetes, cancer

Precautions: general debility, nervousness, muscle spasms, high Vata

Preparation: decoction, powder (250 to 500 mg)

GENTIAN is a classic bitter herb of world-wide usage, a typical bitter tonic. Like most bitter herbs, it destroys Ama in fever and inflammation. It is a strong herb for sedating hyperactivity of the liver and spleen, and it heals genital area sores and infections. It is good for ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. It is one of the best anti-Pitta herbs.

For reducing fever it may be given with equal amounts of dry ginger or black pepper. For regulating liver-spleen function it combines well with aloe vera and may be taken along with aloe as an anupana.

However, where there is no fever or inflammation, or where there is no high Pitta or excess fat in the body, it is not to be used. Vata-type nervous digestion and hypoglycemia will not respond well to it.

It has value in such modern diseases as genital herpes and cancer, particularly diseases of a Pitta nature, or those rooted in the blood or liver.

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