The Swertia chirata is a flowering plant that grows 3-4 feet in height. This annual plant is erect with robust branching stems. The leaves are opposite, and 10 cm in length and have no stalks. The stems are cylindrical below and 4-angled upwards. It has a large pith. The sub-sessile leaves are broadly lanceolate and 5-nerved.
The bisexual, greenish-yellow flowers are borne in panicles and tinges with purple. They show hypogynous character. The egg-shaped capsules are sharp and pointed and have many sides. The flowering season is August-October while the seeds appear in October-November. The seeds are similarly many-sided.
The common name for this plant is Chirayata. People also call it the Nepali Neem.
Botanical Name or Family
The botanical name of this plant is Swertia chirata or Gentiana chirata. It belongs to the family Gentianaceae.
Geological area where Swertia chirata trees grows
It is found in the Himalayas in Northern India and in Bhutan.
Medicinal Use of Swertia chirata in different disease
In Ayurveda, Swertia Chirata is tridoshas balancing due to its dry, pungent, hot, and bitter nature. It contains powerful anti-oxidants, glycosides, and alkaloids. Some of these are xanthone, oleic acid, palmitic acid, swerchirin, gentiopicrin, amarogentin, enicoflavine, chiratanin, stearic acid, swertanone, chiratol, swertiamarin, and more.
- Anti-inflammatory: Swertia chirata has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. It finds use in treating redness, pain, swelling, and joint diseases.
- Laxative action: People use the plant in the form of a decoction to get good bowel movement.
- Anti-pyretic action: The Chirayata is good for reducing fevers especially malarial fevers.
- Treats Liver: The detoxifying effect on the liver is pronounced and so you can use it to treat liver problems. It enhances the metabolism, and this helps to lose weight. This is due to the presence of the methanol.
- Anti-mutagenic property: The Swertia Chirata interferes with the process of transformation of compounds into mutagens. This prevention of the mutagen-DNA reaction helps preserve the integrity of the cell functions.
- Protects from ulcer: The ethanol in the Swertia Chirata prevents ulcers from forming.
- Removes GI tract complaints: People use Swertia Chirata for gas, bloating, and GI upsets because it stops the production of acids in the stomach. It soothes the inflammation of the intestines. You can get relief from nausea and diarrhoea. It strengthens the stomach.
- Immunomodulatory properties: The chemical agents that change the immune response are known as the immunomodulators. One example is the stimulation of the antibody formation or stopping the white blood cell activity. Swertia chirata helps your body stay healthy with its immunomodulatory properties.
- Kills Intestinal worms: The herb exhibits anthelmintic properties that kills worms in the intestine.
- Good for the blood: It has blood purifying actions. Like most bitter herbs, the Swertia chirata shows good action in producing blood. This helps one overcome the symptoms of anemia fast.
- Hypoglycaemic effect: Hexane fraction of the Chirayata showed significant blood sugar lowering when experimented on rats. It did not affect the liver glycogen concentrations. However, prolonged use showed rise in the liver glycogen. The hypoglycaemic effect is because the Chirayata stimulates the release of insulin.
- Leishmanicidal property: It helps prevent the spread of the leishmaniasis disease caused by the bite of sand flies.
- Helpful for treating mental disorders: Certain kinds of mental disorders can be treated successfully with Swertia chirata. To tackle nervous forms of dyspepsia, one needs to have the infusion of the plant twice a day.
- Antioxidant action: The presence of powerful anti-oxidant compounds in Swertia Chirata proves useful in preventing DNA damage. It slows the aging process. In addition, it prevents the incidence of diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Also, you are less likely to get a stroke.
- Cure skin ailments: The extract of the herb is useful for the effective treatment of skin ailments. You can treat all kinds of rashes, skin diseases, and inflammations of the skin with the paste of Swertia chirata. It helps heal wounds and oozing cuts in the skin fast. Mix with water and apply on the wound.
- Tackles Urinary tract complaints: For people having complaints in the region of the kidneys, get frequent urge to urinate, and have difficulty in urinating, will benefit by taking the extract of the Chirayata.
- Use as a tonic: For people recovering from an exhaustive illness, the tonic prepared from Swertia chirata helps.
- Strengthens the stomach: People with a weak stomach will benefit if they use the herb and its extracts. Use an astringent stimulant especially if you have indigestion.
- Use as an appetiser: It provides stimulation for the digestive system. It can correct the disruptive factors of nutrition and provide good support for the health. It helps stabilize the metabolic system.
- Treat vomiting: You can use the extracts of the plant with honey to treat both hiccups and vomiting.
- Cure general weakness: During convalescence and periods of general weakness, one can use an infusion of the plant for getting strength. The other option is to use a tincture. To prepare an infusion, one uses spices such as cinnamon or cloves along with the herb. Bring to a boil, cool and store. You must have only one or two teaspoons of the infusion. One could use the root of the plant to make the infusion. However, it serves a different purpose. One must use honey if one takes the infusion prepared from the root.
- Reduce heat with Swertia chirata: Adding Swertia chirata will help decrease the heat of most things, including your laundry. This is most welcome during the hot season.
- Protective action against cancer: This is one of the best things about this herb. It provides a defense against cancers. This is particularly true for instances such as liver cancer.
- Antiviral property: The good anti-viral property of the herb helps treat herpes virus infections and those affected by papilloma virus.
- Help control bleeding: Swertia chirata helps control all types of bleeding including menstrual bleeding and nose bleeds.
- Cure constipation: This herb presents a good cure for constipation. Just have a decoction prepared from the plant until the condition improves.
The Swertia chirata plant is used extensively in Ayurvedic formulations since the old ages. You can make effective but bitter tonics for improving the health with Chirayata. Keep it handy to use in case of fevers and stomach upsets. Also, it is useful for diabetics. But always consult an Ayurveda before taking it!