Gentian has a long as a bitter flavoring for alcoholic drinks, especially in Germany and Switzerland where Gentian flavored beer was drunk before the introduction of hops. Gentian wine was also served as an aperitif at 18th century dinner parties to encourage the guest's digestion following a meal. Gentian is found in many liquor stores as the chief flavor in vermouth, and in Stockton and Angostura bitters, both of which were originally used as digestive tonics. One of the most bitter of the bitter digestive tonics, gentian is appropriately called "bitter root." Gentian root is a digestive bitter with cooling and drying properties. It is often used just before or just after a meal to help active the digestive system and to support the body in assimilating nutrients.
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