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Gentian root has a long history of use as an herbal bitter and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. The parts used include the dried, underground parts of the plant and the fresh, above-ground parts. The root, which can be over 5 cm (2.0 in) thick and has few branches, is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
Fun factoid: The name is a tribute to Gentius, an Illyrian king who was thought to have found out that the herb had tonic properties.
Extracts of gentian root can be found in the American soft drink Moxie, and its unique flavor is attributed to that fact. It is used in France to produce a number of bitter liqueurs, including Salers in the Cantal, and a Limousin specialty liqueur and aperitif called Avèze.
1/4 cup in a resealable bag