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Swertia chirata         

  Latin Name Swertia chirata
English Name Chiretta
Hindi Name Chirayita
Part Used Whole Plant

Chiretta is a medicinal plant indigenous to temperate Himalaya found at an altitude of 12003000 m (4000 to 10,000 ft), from Kashmir to Bhutan, and in the Khasi hills at 12001500 m (4000 to 5000 ft). It can be grown in sub-temperate regions between 1500 and 2100 m altitudes. It is an annual herb. It grows to about 5 feet in height. The leaves are oval, pointed and lanceolet. The flowers are greenish white. The fruits are tiny capsules .All five parts of the plant, the root, bark, leaves, flowers and fruits are useful as Ayurvedic medicine. It is often confused with Andrographis paniculata, but both are different plants. According to classical ayurvedic text Caraka Samhita, Kiratatikta (Sanskrit name) is referred to as Jvaraghna. Kiratatikta is bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates kapha and pitta doshas.

1,2The plant is used as a bitter tonic in treatment of fever and for curing various skin diseases. . It stimulates the liver and endows anthelmintic activity. Kiratatikta as a blood purifier, wards off the edema.  Decoction of herb is beneficial for cleansing the wounds. In the cases of skin rash and the skin diseases with oozing, burning sensation and itching respond well to it. It is an excellent remedy for a weak stomach, especially when this gives rise to nausea, indigestion and bloating, and it has also been shown to protect the liver. Swertia chirata is a good   blood purifier, useful bitter tonic, cures general debility, loss of appetite, skin diseases, cholera, dyspepsia, liver, spleen and gastric complications. 

3Swertia chirata has showed Antihepatotoxic activity on paracetamol and galactosamine induced hepatotoxicity in rats. 4Swertia chirata extract is also found antiviral properties against Herpes simplex virus type-1.



1. The Wealth of India, Raw materials, Vol-10: Sp-W, edition-2005, page-78-81
2. Database on medicinal plants, CCFRAS, Dept. of ISM & H, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Govt. of India, Vol-7, Page-227-230
3. PMID: 10190179, Phytother Res. 1999 Mar;13(2):95-101
4. PMID: 9315240, Indian J Exp Biol. 1997 Apr;35(4):384-8.

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