Himalayan Gentian
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Himalayan Gentian
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Himalayan Gentian, Indian gentian • Hindi: Chireta, कड़ु Kadu, करु Karu, Kore, Kutki, trayaman • Kannada: karadihanni, kiriyatu • Malayalam: kiriyat, trayamana • Manipuri: kirayet • Sanskrit: Trayamana, Trayanthi, गिरिजा Girija, अनुजा Anuja • Tamil: kampantirai, nilavempu, nilavimbu • Telugu: buroni, nelavemu • Urdu: नील कंठी Neel kanthi
Botanical name: Gentiana kurroo    Family: Gentianaceae (Gentian family)

Himalayan Gentian is a critically endangered plant of the Himalayas. Flowers are deep blue, paler in the throat and spotted with green and white, usually two or more on each stem, but sometimes solitary. Flowers are large, narrow funnel-shaped, up to 5 cm, with ovate pointed spreading petals, and small triangular "lobules". Sepal cup is tubular, with narrow linear petals 0.8-1.2 cm, 1/2-2/3 times as long as the sepal tube. Leaves at the base are lanceshaped, ususally 10-12 cm. Stem leaves are 2-3 pairs. Stems are several, 5-30 cm long, unbranched, arising from a stout rootstock. Himalayan Gentian is found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to Uttarakhand, at altitudes of 1800-2700 m. Flowering: August-October.
Medicinal uses: The root of this plant has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed in Kashmir & Sirmaur Distt, Himachal Pradesh.

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