Bitter Root Lewisia Rediviva
Botanical Name:

Lewisia rediviva

Common Name:

racème amer, black medicine, spetium, gentian


As with many herbs native to North America, Native Americans used bitterroot as both a foodstuff and a medicinal treatment.

Bitterroot was considered a delicacy to the Native Americans, and they would eat it with either sugar or salt.

During the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Meriwether Lewis gathered many specimens of bitterroot and brought them back on his return trip. He was honored with the botanical name, Lewisia rediviva, for his efforts.

Nutritional Value:

Not a significant source of vitamins and minerals.

Medicinal Value:

Bitterroot, often called gentian, is used in Europe as a treatment for anemia. Gentian stimulates the digestive tract, promoting reabsorption of iron and other minerals.

Bitterroot has been known to lower blood pressure in some people, and it must be taken with caution if you already take medication to lower your blood pressure. You may experience an unhealthy drop in your blood pressure if you take both in combination.

University of Maryland Medical Center