Botanical Name: Halenia elliptica
Synonyms: Swertia peloris
Common Name: Spurred Gentian
Habitat: Halenia elliptica is native to E. Asia – Himalayas from India to China. It grows beside streams in valleys, grassland slopes, scrub, forest margins and forests at elevations of 700 – 4,100 metres. It is found in forests and open slopes of the Himalayas, from Kashmir to SW China, at altitudes of 1800-4500 m
Spurred Gentian is an erect hairless pertennial plant, growing to 2 ft tall, with 4-angled stem which are winged. Oppositely arranged narrow-elliptic leaves are stalkless, 2.5-5 cm long. Flowers are small, pale blue, easily identified by the 4 hort blue spurs projecting backwards and outwards beyond the sepals. Flowers arise in clusters of few flowers, in leaf axils and at the end of branches. Flowers are 8 mm across, bell-shaped, deeply 4-loved, with spurs up to 7 mm long. They have 4 ovate-lanceshaped sepals, and 4 stamens. . . It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). The plant is self-fertile.
Requires a cool, damp soil with a pH of 5 – 6, and a position in light shade with protection from strong winds. Plants are not very hardy outdoors in this country and are best treated as frost-tender annuals.
Seed – best sown in early spring in a cool greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. Prick out into individual pots once the plants are large enough to handle and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts.
The entire plant is used in Tibetan medicine, it is considered to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. It is cholagogue and febrifuge. It is used in the treatment of liver inflammations, stomach complaints and fevers from contagious diseases.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.