blue gentian plant

Blue gentian – Gentiana acaulis and Gentiana septemfida

Botanical profile

Blue gentians have long been emblematic of the Alps and are a protected species under nature conservation law. According to recent scientific research, two varieties from the gentian family have properties that are beneficial for skin care.

A cultural treasure and symbol of the Alps

Like edelweiss, blue gentians are plants that are closely associated with the Swiss Alps. Celebrated in countless songs, they enjoy long-standing recognition as cherished symbols of the region’s cultural heritage. Germna poet Hermann Hesse immortalised blue gentians in his 1913 poem “Gentian Flower” with the lines: “The sky appears immersed in your chalice, / the breezes waft among your downy petals.”

Like all varieties of the Gentiana genus, the stemless gentian (Gentiana acaulis) and summer gentian (Gentiana septemfida) are protected under nature conservation law. The botanical name refers to King Gentius, who ruled the kingdom of Illyria from 180 to 168 BC and is said to have first discovered the beneficial effects of this medicinal herb. “Acaulis” is Latin for “stemless”, describing this variety’s short stature. “Septemfida” means “divided into seven”. Blue gentians respond to weather and light conditions, closing their flowers when its cloudy or raining.

blue genian harvest

Blue gentian at home in the mountains

The stemless gentian (Gentiana acaulis) inhabits the mountainous regions of Central Europe, ranging from the Jura Mountains to the Pyrenees. It thrives in sunny altitudes up to 3,000 metres above sea level, preferring silica-rich soils. The herbaceous evergreen perennial reaches a maximum height of only 10 cm. Its blossoms grow close to the ground, and seem to sprout directly from a carpet of leaves. Its stemless form enables it to endure strong alpine winds while its strong roots anchor the plant firmly in the soil.

Emerging from the centre of each basal leaf rosette is a stunning shaped flower that grows up to 8 cm tall. Five bright purple-blue petals form the trumpet-shaped calyx. Green to black ridges and spots line the interior, like a leathery snakeskin. The stemless gentian blooms from May to August, its flowering period depending on the location. Bumblebees and butterflies serve as vital pollinators. The seed capsules ripen in late summer and fall, releasing tiny seeds dispersed by the wind.

The summer or crested gentian (Gentiana septemfida) is a close cousin, native to the highlands of Iran. It forms a larger bushy mound of foliage with smaller blossoms that are delicately fringed at the edges. As its name suggests, this plant blooms around mid-summer.

illustration blue gentian plant

Effect: stimulating and revitalising

According to Rudolf Steiner, the colour blue evokes a feeling of well-being in people. Blue gentian blossoms possess a high concentration of anthocyanins, which gives them their vibrant blue hue. These secondary plant compounds serve multiple purposes, such as protecting the plants from intense UV rays in their mountain environment. They also have an antioxidant effect by binding free radicals that are produced during oxidative stress resulting from increased UV exposure.

Recent research findings indicate that blue gentians have valuable properties for skincare products: they stimulate the metabolism of the skin for a revitalising effect. Their high mountain habitat endows them with firming structural impulses.

illustration blue gentian blossom

Swiss Gentian for Weleda

Weleda incorporates both the stemless gentian and the summer gentian in its natural and organic skincare products. The longer, sprawling stems of the summer gentian yield more biomass, benefitting the extraction of valuable substances. While only the flowers and leaves of the stemless gentian are utilised, all parts of the summer gentian – flowers, leaves and stems – are processed.

Due to nature conservation concerns, the wild collection of blue gentians is not a viable option. Instead, Weleda has partnered with the Valplantes cooperative to organically cultivate these plants on a small, nearly one-hectare plot near Bruson, a small village in the Swiss canton of Valais. Skilled farmers from the cooperative cultivate these exquisite blue beauties at an altitude of 1,100 metres above sea level.

Products made with Blue Gentian

Reduces deep wrinkles, firms sagging neck and skin. For mature skin.
4.9 out of 5 stars
16 reviews
40 ml
{{ 4395 |formatPrice |currency }}
Reduces deep wrinkles, repairs skin overnight. For mature skin.
4.8 out of 5 stars
16 reviews
40 ml
{{ 4495 |formatPrice |currency }}
Brightens up skin tone, immediately firmer feeling skin. For mature skin.
4.6 out of 5 stars
16 reviews
30 ml
{{ 4595 |formatPrice |currency }}
Reduces deep wrinkles, dark circles, eye bags and puffiness. Fragrance free. For mature skin.
4.6 out of 5 stars
16 reviews
10 ml
{{ 2995 |formatPrice |currency }}