You do not have flash player installed. Click Here to install latest Flash Player.
Raw Herbs
Aromatic Pillows
Herbal Extracts
Ayurvedic Products
Single Herb Capsules
Essential Oils
Raw Herbs

Swertia chirayita / Swertia chirata

back  |  home
Latin Names English Names Sanskrit Names Hindi Names

Swertia chirayita
(Roxb. ex Flem.) Karst. /
Swertia chirata
Buch.- Ham. ex C. B. Clarke





Swertia Chirayita / Swertia ChirataHabitat
It is found in the temperate Himalayas at altitudes of 1,200-3,000 m. from Kashmir to Bhutan, and in the Khasi hills in Meghalaya at 1,200-1,500 m.

Morphology Description (Habit)

The plant is an erect annual. The stems are robust, branching, cylindrical below and 4-angled upwards, containing a large pith; the leaves are broadly lanceolate, 5-nerved and sub-sessile; the flowers occur in large panicles, are lurid greenish yellow, tinged with purple; the capsules are egg-shaped, many-sided, sharp-pointed; the seeds are smooth and many- angled. The drug (chiretta) is obtained from the dried plant.

Principal Constituents
Chiretta is reported to contain a yellow bitter acid, ophelic acid, two bitter glucosides, chiratin and amarogentin, gentiopicrin, two yellow crystalline phenols, a neutral, yellow crystalline compound, and a new xanthone, swerchirin. Amarogentin is one of the most bitter substances known1.The herb contains swertanone, swertenol, episwertinol, chiratenol, gammacer-16-en-3ß-ol, 21-a-H-hop-22(29)-en-3ß-ol, taraxerol, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, swerta-7,9(11)-dien-3ß-ol, pichierenol, besides ß-amyrin, y-taraxasterol, lupeol and erythrodiol. It also yields, 1,3,6,7-tetrahydroxyxanthone-C-2-ß-D-glucoside (mangiferin) having a significant immunomodulatory potential. A new xanthone, 1,5-dihydroxy-3,8-dimethoxyxanthone (chiratol) besides swerchirin and 7-O-Me swertiarin and monohydroxy terephthalic acid and 2,5-dihydroxy terephthalic acid were isolated from the herb2. The herb also yields 1,5,8-trihydroxy-3-methoxyxanthone, 1-hydroxy-3,5,8-trimethoxyxanthone, 1-hydroxy-3,7,8-trimethoxy xanthone, 1,8-dihydroxy-3,5-dimethoxy-xanthone, 1,8-dihydroxy-3,7- dimethoxy xanthone, 1,3,6,7-tetrahydroxy xanthone C-2-ß-D-glucoside (mengiferin), 1,3,8-trihydroxy-5- methoxy xanthone, 1,3,5,8-tetrahydroxy xanthone and 1,3,7,8- tetrahydroxy xanthone, a novel dimeric xanthone (chiratanin) and the alkaloids gentianine, gentiocrucine and enicoflavine3.

The ethanolic extract of S.chirayita exhibits hypoglycemic activity. The hexane fraction containing swerchirin, the main hypoglycemic principle, induced a significant fall in blood sugar in albino rats. The compound may have clinical application in control of diabetes4. It also possesses anti-microbial activity against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. An herbal antiseptic and antifungal Veterinary ointment Melicon V is prepared from the herb5. The extract of the plant exhibits a significant anti-inflammatory activity. The plant extract shows anti-leishmanial activity against Leishmania donovani in golden hamsters6.


  1. Prasad et. al., loc. cit.; Dalal & Shah, Chem. & Ind.,1956, 664; Bose, J. Indian chem. Soc.,1960, 37, 6532.

  2. Chakravarty & Mukhopadhyay, Indian J Chem, 1992, 31B, 70; Chakravarty et. al., Phytochemistry, 1991, 30, 4087;

  3. Asthana et. al., ibid, 1991, 30, 1037; Ghosal, Indian J Indigenous Med, 1991, 8(1), 3; Chem Abstr, 1991, 114, 139828; Fevre-Bonvin et. al., J Nat Prod, 1988, 51, 9773. Asthana et. al., Phytochemistry, 1991, 30, 10374.

  4. Chandrasekar et. al., Indian J Exp Biol, 1990, 28, 616; 6 Saxena et. al., ibid, 1993, 31, 178; Bajpai et. al., Planta Med, 1991, 57, 102 5.

  5. Pandey et. al., J Res Ayurv Siddha, 1991, 12 (1 & 2) 33; Leslie & Jolly, Indian Drugs, 1988, 25, 143; Pandya et. al., ibid, 1991, 28, 225; Mukherjee, Fitoterapia, 1991, 62, 1976.

  6. Mandal et. al., Fitoterapia, 1992, 63, 122; Singha et. al., Int J Pharmacongn, 1992, 30, 289.

designed by: cross section   
La-Medicca : Herbs From India