Swertia Chirata: Best Herb for Diabetes, Fever and Liver Problem (Chireta)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Common Names

3. Vernacular Names

4. Synonyms

5. Distribution

6. Morphology

7. Ayurvedic Properties

8. Chemical Constituent

9. Identity, Purity, and Strength

10. Ayurvedic and Pharmacological Actions

11. Health Benefits

12. Therapeutic Uses

13. Official Part Used

14. General Doses

15. Ayurvedic Formulations

16. Precautions and Contraindications

17. Swertia Chirata Herbal Tea

1. Introduction

Swertia chirata has a long history of use in traditional Ayurvedic and Unani medicine for treating various ailments such as fever, digestive disorders, and liver diseases. Swertia Chirata is a medicinal plant belonging to the family Gentianaceae. It is an important medicinal plant aboriginal to clement Himalayas in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. In India, 40 species of Swertia are recorded, of which Swertia Chirata is considered the most important for its medicinal properties. Its medicinal usage is declared in American and British pharmacopoeia, Indian Pharmaceutical codex and in different conventional systems of medicine like Ayurvedic, Unani, and Siddha.

In India, it is known as chirayata. It is found in high altitude areas of Himalayas, particularly in kirata region, and is bitter in taste; hence its name is called Kiratatikta. The plant is used as bitter tonic in treatment of fever, liver disorder and for curing various skin problems. Swertia Chirata has an established medicine in domestic (India) and in international market. Chirata is a perennial herbaceous plant that typically grows up to 1.5 meters in height. It is characterized by its distinctive bright green leaves and yellow tubular flowers.

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2. Common Names

Family – Gentianaceae

Hindi Name – Chirayata

English Name – Chireta

3. Vernacular Names

Arabic – Qasabuzzarirah

Bengali – Chireta

Burma – Sekhagi

Deccan - Charayatah

Gujrati – Chirayata

Kannada – Nilavebu

Malayalam – Nilaveppu

Marathi – Chirayita

Nepal - Cherata

Persian – Nenilawandi

Punjabi – Charaita

Tamil – Nilavembu

Telugu – Nilavembu

4. Synonyms

Anaryatika – It is found in kirata region and has bitter taste.

Kandatikta – Its stem is bitter.

Katutiktaka – It has tikta (pungent and bitter) taste.

5. Distribution

It is critically endangered medicinal herb indigenous to the mountains districts of northern India growing at high altitude in the subtemperate region of Himalayas in between 1,200 to 1,500 m. It can be grown in subtemperate regions between 1,500 and 2,100 m altitude.

6. Morphology

It is an annual or biannual erect herb of 0.5 to 1.5 m height.

Stem – Two or three feet long, middle portion is cylindrical while upper portion is quadrangular, orange or purple in color.

Leaves – Simple, opposite, sessile, lanceolate, apex is acuminate whereas base is cordate, five to seven nerved and 4 cm long.

Flowers – Small numerous, tetramerous, large leafy panicles, greenish-yellow color and tinged with purple or white hairs. The calyx is gamophyllous with four lobes, corolla-lobes four twisted and superimposed, united at the base where they have pairs of nectaries on each lobe covered with long hairs. Four stamens, opposite the corolla lobe, at the base of the corolla. Ovary unilocular with ovules laminal placentation parietal, two stigmas.

Seeds – Numerous, very small, dark brownish color.

Root – The roots are generally small, 5 to 10 cm in length, light brown, somewhat twisted, and gradually tapering.

7. Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa (Taste): It has Tikta (astrigent) taste.

Virya (Potency): It is cold in nature (sheeta).

Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is tikta (astrigent).

Guna (Qualities) – Laghu, Ruksha

8. Chemical Constituent

The major phytoconstituent are amarogentin, swertiamarin, amaroswerin, gentianin, swerchirin, xanthones, mangiferin, lignan, pentacyclic, lupeol, gentiocrucinr, sweroside and gentiopicrin. The latter is soluble in water, the ophelic acid is a brown hygroscopic substance that is soluble in water and alcohol. It also contains resin, tannin, and 4 -8 percent of ash.

9. Identity, Purity, and Strength

Foreign Matter – Not more than 2%

Total Ash – Not more than 6%

Acid-insoluble ash – Not more than 1%

Alcohol-soluble extractive – Not less than 10%

Water-soluble extractive – Not less than 10%

(Source: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India 1989)

10. Ayurvedic and Pharmacological Actions

Ayurvedic Actions

The main actions of Swertia Chirata are laxative, antipyretic, galactopurifier, antileprotic, appetizer, digestive, blood purifier, wound cleanser and antithrist.

  • Doshakarma – Kapha pittahara
  • Dhatukarma – Raktadoshahara
  • Malakarma - Sara

Pharmacological Actions

The main pharmacological actions of Swertia Chirata are antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antimalarial, hepatoprotective, antileprosy, antidiarrheal, antipyretic, depressant, mutagenicity, gastroprotective, wound healing, anesthetics, anticonvulsant, hypotensive, antipsychotic, diuretic and chemoprotective.

11. Health Benefits

It is used in fever, asthma, cough, swelling, thirst, burning sensation, skin disease, diabetes, wound, worm infestation, blood disease. It is also useful to cure ulcers, gastrointestinal disease, skin disease, cough, hiccup, liver and kidney disease, neurological disorders, and urogenital tract disorder. It is also used to purify breast milk and for laxative and carminative purposes.

Th wide range of medicinal uses include the treatment of chronic fever, malaria, anemia, bronchial asthma, hepatotoxic disorders, liver disorders, hepatitis, gastritis, constipation, dyspepsia, skin disease, worms, epilepsy, ulcers, scanty urine, hypertension, melancholia, and certain types of mental disorders, secretion of bile, blood purification and diabetes.

12. Therapeutic Uses

Wound – Decoction of Swertia Chirata is used for cleansing wounds.

General Debility - Take the infusion of the Swertia in a dose of 60ml or 4 tbsp. twice a day, before meals. Helps to treat general debility.

Intestinal Worms - Take 1 tsp of Swertia Chirata powder with water once a day, or take an infusion, which helps to treat intestinal worms.

Stomach Disorders - Take 5-6 grams of Swertia Chirata powder with lukewarm water after meal, helps to treat stomach disorders.

Hiccups - Take 2 grams of Swertia Chirata root powder with honey, helps with hiccups and vomiting.

Purification of Breast milk – Decoction of Swertia Chirata is administrative to purify breast milk.

Edema – Paste of Swertia Chirata and ginger is taken to cure edema.

13. Official Part Used

Whole Plant

The whole plant is used in traditional remedies, but the root is mentioned to be the most bioactive part.

14. General Doses

Powder – 1 to 3g

Decoction – 50 to 100ml

 

15. Ayurvedic Formulations

Chirayta Kashaya (Decoction)

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of dried Swertia Chirata powder or 2 teaspoons of fresh Swertia Chirata leaves
  • 2 cups of water

Instructions

  • Add the Swertia Chirata powder or leaves to a saucepan.
  • Pour water into the saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Strain the decoction into a cup or container.
  • Allow it to cool slightly before consuming.

Chirayta Churna (Powder)

Ingredients

  • Dried Swertia Chirata leaves
Instructions
  • Take dried Swertia Chirata leaves.
  • Grind the leaves in a blender or herb grinder until you achieve a fine powder consistency.
  • Store the powder in an airtight container for future use.

Chirayta Swaras (Juice)

Ingredients

  • Fresh Swertia Chirata leaves
  • Water

Instructions

  • Wash the Swertia Chirata leaves thoroughly.
  • Crush the leaves using a mortar and pestle or blend them in a blender with a small amount of water.
  • Strain the juice using a fine sieve or muslin cloth to remove any solid particles.
  • Collect the strained juice in a clean container.

16. Precautions and Contraindications

  • Consult the doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take without a doctor’s prescription if you are pregnant.
  • Do not take Chirayta / Swertia Chirata if you are suffering from diarrhea, bleeding per rectum, rectal prolapse, or fecal incontinence.
  • If you are on diabetes or hypertension medication. Consult first the doctor before consuming Chirayta / Swertia Chirata.
  • If you are above 65 years old and want to start Chirayta / Swertia Chirata, consult the doctor and talk about the health conditions.
  • If you are on any supplements, vitamins, or herbal medication, consult the doctor before taking Chirayta / Swertia Chirata.
  • Avoid Chirayta / Swertia Chirata when having intestinal ulcers as it could worsen the condition.
  • Stop taking Chirayta / Swertia Chirata at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
  • Chirayta / Swertia Chirata may interact with other medicines like blood sugar or blood pressure allopathy medicines.

17. Swertia Chirata Herbal Tea

Ingredients

Yield – 2 cups

  • Swertia Chirata Powder – 1 tsp
  • Clove – 2 buds
  • Black Pepper Powder – ¼ tsp
  • Jaggery Powder – 1 tsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
  • Water – 2 ½ cups
  • Black Salt – ½ tsp
  • Cinnamon Powder – ¼ tsp

Method

  • Take a pan and add water and boil it.
  • Add all the ingredients except lemon juice.
  • Boil it for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add lemon juice and strain the tea into cups.
  • Drink hot and enjoy the aromatic flavors.


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