(Swertia chirata)

Part Used: Whole plant

Chirayata is found in the Himalayan ranges of India from Kashmir to Bhutan at an altitude of 1,200-3,000 m. It is also found in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya at an altitude of 1,200-1,500 m.

Swertia chirata, commonly known as chirata, chirayata or kirata-tikta in Sanskrit, finds its mention in Charaka Samhita - a classical medical text of Ancient India for its multifarious therapeutic value. In traditional medicine the entire plant is used but the root is the richest source of active phytochemicals.

The Swertia chirata is a therapeutic plant and its remedial usage has been recognized in the Indian pharmaceutical codex as well as the British and American Pharmacopoeias. In addition, the curative value of the herb has also been recorded by the ancient Indian herbal medicine system Ayurveda and other conventional medical systems, such as Siddha and Unani. The herb as well as its extracts is used as a bitter stimulant to treat fever as well as curing several skin problems. Swertia chirata (scientific name S. chirayita) has an established market, both domestic in India as well as globally and it is expanding at the rate of around 10 per cent every year. This drug possesses the tonic properties of gentian and similar bitters. It is valued in India, where it is much employed in urinary complaints with uneasiness in the region of the kidneys, frequent urging to urinate, which is accomplished with difficulty, and in cases of uric acid deposits.
K. P. Sampath Kumar et al J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(1): 262-266

Mechanism of Action:

Pharmacological Actions:

Hypoglycemic Activity – Swerchirin from S. chirata, lowers blood sugar level by stimulation of insulin release from islets of Langerhans. Mangiferin from S. chirata protects from oxidative damage by inducing a compensatory increase in anti-oxidant defense mechanism and has immuno-modulaory action.
Prosenjit Saha and Sukta Das, Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 11, 2010

Anti-urolithiatic Activity – S. chirata significantly decreases lipid peroxidation level and therefore prevents decrease in the catalase levels in kidney. This suggests its efficacy in

preventing free-radical induced damage which protects kidney. It is effective in prevention of crystals may be due to its diuretic effect which is effective in the treatment of urolithiasis.
Parmar RK et al. IRJP2012,3(8).

Hepatoprotective Activity – Biochemical parameters in liver, like serum AST (aspartate aminotransferase, ALT (alanine aminotransferase), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities and bilirubin levels increase due to the effect of hepatotoxicants but liver glycogen and serum cholesterol levels decrease. Histologically, it produces hepatocytic necrosis especially in the centrilobular region. Swertia chirayata causes improvement at both biochemical and histopathological parameters (i.e. cell or tissue structure).
Gajendra Kumar Sharma:Swertia Chirayata: An Ayurvedic Herb And Its Medicinal Uses, IAMJ: Volume 3; Issue 1; February- 2015

Thrombolytic & Anti-inflammatory Activity – S. chirata exhibits thrombolytic a tivity which prevent clot formation and reduces inflammation in the body, which is very beneficial in various disease conditions.

Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry , Vol. 1 No. 4 2012

Clinical Studies:

S. chirata (chirayata) is a popular medicinal herb, not only in India but globally. It has its various health benefits mainly in diabetes, liver problems, urinary complaints etc. Chirayata, due to its medicinal properties has its strong presence in Indian and global market, which shows it as a potential herb for the treatment of different ailments.