Poli Museo della Grappa

Poli Grappa Museum

Poli Distillerie

Poli Distillerie

Good the Gentian, but beware of the white hellebore

  • Plant: Great Yellow Gentian (Gentiana Lutea)
  • Plant part: root
  • Plant feauters: digestive, vulnerary, vermifuge, diuretic, fever reducer, tonic, stomachic expectorant, relieving flatulence, stimulates gastric juice production, antidiarrheal, febrifugal, bitter, eupeptic, anti-anaemic, eases atony, antibiotic, immunostimulator

  • Description:
    "Chew every day a piece of gentian and you will enjoy a long life and a healthy old age" said an old proverb.
    But not only the proverbs made this plant famous, that was already known two hundred years before Christ.
    It was Gentius, the last king of Illyria, who discovered it, praising the infinite therapeutic virtues oft he plant, which then served to reaffirm his reputation as worker of miracles.
    Certainly the gentian always occupied a prominent place in the Treaties of materia medica (On Medical Material) and from time to time the most diverse indications were attributed to it: from an antidote against poison to a remedy against fevers, from a blood-promoting medicine to a resolving liniment. With these same therapeutic indications gentian also appeared also in the first pharmacopoeia until at the beginning of the 19th century the various active ingredients (the genzianino bitter principle) were isolated and the plant was finally and officially considered a bitter, tonic and digestive.
    As such the gentian is used as the primary component of bitter liqueurs, aperitifs and digestives. The bitter principles are present both in the root and in the inflorescences of the willow gentian but especially in the root (collected in the second year) of the great yellow gentian (GENTIANA LUTEA L.).
    It is this root, placed in the Grappa, which imparts a particularly bitter taste that mainly favors the digestive functions.  
  • Notes:
    Contraindicated in the presence of gastric and intestinal ulcers.
Great Yellow Gentian (Gentiana Lutea)
  • Ingredients:
    - 1 liter of Grappa
    - a few pieces of dried root of Gentian
    - some hot water (at pleasure)
    - zest of one lemon (at pleasure)
  • Preparation:
    Just take a few pieces of dried root and let it macerate for a month in a liter of Grappa. Take care to shake everythig from time to time and to keep the bottle away from light.
    Left the filtered liquor to age in the cellar for at least two months: the result will be a unique digestif, at least with regard to its very bitter and aromatic character.
    The Grappa of gentian can be drunk pure or diluted with hot water (as a punch!), as well with the addition of a lemon peel in order to increase the digestive properties.
    Without the specific knowledge of the world of the herbs, the preparation can lead to unpleasant incidents: it is indeed the gentian root, which is often confused with the root of another plant: the false helleborine (Veratrum album L.).
    These two plants are apparently similar but fundamentally different, not only from a structural point of view: one is a medicinal plant and the other a deadly poison. A careless picker could, in fact, confuse the two plants with eachother, since the gentian and the false helleborine grow in the same environment.

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