Gentian and edelweiss are alpine plants with many health properties, also for joint and skin health.
Gentian has an analgesic effect that helps to reduce persistent inflammatory pain. It can modulate pain transmission and decrease the expression of certain pain receptors in the brain. This effect on the central nervous system could be due to the different compounds that gentian contains (gentiopicrosides, swertiamarin, sweroside).1,2
Gentian has traditionally been used to treat inflammation of the joints, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis. By inhibiting COX-2 and the secretion of inflammatory cytokines, it seems to be effective.3,4
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effect and the stimulation of the synthesis of essential lipids in the skin’s epidermal barrier, it helps to reduce psoriasis or dermatitis.5,6,7
Gentian may also improve endurance performance.1 It is often used to increase gastrointestinal health (mobility, secretion) or liver health.5,8 In addition, it may have an effect on atherosclerosis and complications of diabetes.9,10
Oral edelweiss can have many health benefits: it is anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant.11 Its anti-inflammatory potency can be seen in the reduction of the secretion of inflammatory cytokines and the inhibition of chemotaxis, i.e., the decrease in the accumulation of leukocytes (white blood cells) in inflamed tissues. This action is particularly effective for inflammatory skin diseases (e.g. dermatitis).12,13 In addition, it reduces wrinkles, skin aging and UV-related oxidative damage, increasing the elasticity and density of the dermis.13,14
Edelweiss may even have an effect on memory by increasing cholinergic neurotransmission as well as smooth muscle in blood vessels.15,16 In addition, it has antimicrobial activity that could be used in certain respiratory or abdominal infections.17
- Öztürk, N., Başer, K. H. C., Aydin, S., Öztürk, Y. & Çaliş, I. Effects of Gentiana lutea ssp. symphyandra on the central nervous system in mice. Phytotherapy Research 16, 627–631 (2002).
- Chen, L. et al. Down-regulation of NR2B receptors partially contributes to analgesic effects of Gentiopicroside in persistent inflammatory pain. Neuropharmacology 54, 1175–1181 (2008).
- Jia, N. et al. Iridoid glycosides from the flowers of Gentiana macrophylla Pall. ameliorate collagen-induced arthritis in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 189, 1–9 (2016).
- Mubashir, K., Ganai, B. A., Ghazanfar, K. & Akbar, S. Evaluation of Antiarthritic Potential of Methanolic Extract of Gentiana kurroo Royle. Arthritis 2014, (2014).
- Wölfle, U. et al. The herbal bitter drug Gentiana lutea modulates lipid synthesis in human keratinocytes in vitro and in vivo. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18, (2017).
- Gendrisch, F. et al. Gentiana lutea extract modulates ceramide synthesis in primary and psoriasis-like keratinocytes. Molecules 25, (2020).
- Yang, B. et al. Gentiana scabra Bunge roots alleviates skin lesions of contact dermatitis in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 233, 141–147 (2019).
- Mirzaee, F., Hosseini, A., Jouybari, H. B., Davoodi, A. & Azadbakht, M. Medicinal, biological and phytochemical properties of Gentiana species. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine vol. 7 400–408 (2017).
- Kesavan, R. et al. Gentiana lutea exerts anti-atherosclerotic effects by preventing endothelial inflammation and smooth muscle cell migration. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases 26, 293–301 (2016).
- Akileshwari, C. et al. Inhibition of aldose reductase by Gentiana lutea extracts. Experimental Diabetes Research 2012, (2012).
- Speroni, E. et al. In vivo efficacy of different extracts of Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum Cass.) in animal models. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 105, 421–426 (2006).
- Dobner, M. J. et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of Leontopodium alpinum and its constituents. Planta Medica 70, 502–508 (2004).
- Daniela, L. et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of concentrated ethanol extracts of edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum Cass.) callus cultures towards human keratinocytes and endothelial cells. Mediators of Inflammation 2012, (2012).
- Cho, W. K. et al. Anti-aging effects of leontopodium alpinum (Edelweiss) callus culture extract through transcriptome profiling. Genes 11, (2020).
- Hornick, A. et al. Extracts and constituents of Leontopodium alpinum enhance cholinergic transmission: Brain ACh increasing and memory improving properties. Biochemical Pharmacology 76, 236–248 (2008).
- Reisinger, U. et al. Leoligin, the major lignan from Edelweiss, inhibits intimal hyperplasia of venous bypass grafts. Cardiovascular Research 82, 542–549 (2009).
- Dobner, M. J., Schwaiger, S., Jenewein, I. H. & Stuppner, H. Antibacterial activity of Leontopodium alpinum (Edelweiss). Journal of Ethnopharmacology 89, 301–303 (2003).