Swertia chirayita - (Roxb. ex Fleming.)H.Karst.
Common Name Chiretta
Family Gentianaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards Do not exceed recommended dose.
Habitats Pastures and slopes in the Himalayas to 3,000 metres[238, 240].
Range E. Asia - Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade

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Swertia chirayita Chiretta

Swertia chirayita Chiretta
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Swertia chirayita is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist or wet soil.

Gentiana chirayita Roxb. ex Fleming. Ophelia chirata

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Digestive;  Hepatic;  Stimulant.

Chiretta is a traditional Ayurvedic herb. A strongly bitter tonic 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[254]. It is perhaps best known in India as the main ingredient in mahasudarshana churna, a remedy containing more than 50 herbs[254]. The plant has an interesting chemistry, similar in many respects to Gentiana lutea, a widely used restorative tonic of the digestive system[238]. It also contains xanthones, which are reputedly effective against malaria and tuberculosis, and also amarogentin, a glycoside that may protect the liver against carbon tetrachloride poisoning[238]. The whole plant is an extremely bitter tonic digestive herb that lowers fevers and is stimulant[165, 238]. The herb has a beneficial effect on the liver, promoting the flow of bile, it also cures constipation and is useful for treating dyspepsia[4, 238]. The plant is harvested when the seed is setting and then dried for later use[4].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Succeeds in a moist humus-rich soil in damp light woodlands, streamsides or the bog garden[200]. Grows best in areas with cool summers[200]. Succeeds in full sun or partial shade[238]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[238].
Seed - sow spring in temperatures not exceeding 10°c in a humus-rich medium[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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(Roxb. ex Fleming.)H.Karst.
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
   Wed Aug 23 2006
how it helps in staphylococcus infections
Rajendra Prasad Kala   Wed Mar 5 2008
Dear Sirs, The life span of Swertia chirata needs to be amended because its not an annual plant, it is a bienniel plant some times a pluroi annual plant, I have been working on this plant for the last 5 years. Please acknoWledege . Sincerelyn Rajendra Prasad Kala [email protected] yahoo.com
   Fri Aug 29 2008
swertia chirayita shows different habits depending PROBABLY DUE TO the site EFFECTS and also due to different cytotypes,chemotypes and genotypic variations IN ITS POPULATIONS BUT MOSTLY IN TEMPERATE ZONE IT SHOWS PLURIANNUAL BEHAVIOUR IRFAN ALI
Kunwar Singh   Fri Jul 18 2008
Swertia Chirayita is commonly used in India for purifying blood and allergies. Chirayita is a bitter herb and it is most effective in combating cholesterol. It is a good liver tonic and cures constipation. This is the cheapest herb available in India for general health. Chirayita is very effective to control Diabetes.
Kunwar Singh   Wed Jul 23 2008
Swertia Chirayita is also effecive in treating lipid profile and expels intestinal worms. Due to its bitter taste, it purifies the blood and thus is very effective in skin diseases.
shweta srivastav   Thu Jun 18 2009
dear sir,it is a cool herbal for stomach or hot?whether the patients suffering from acidity and gas can take it or not.
shweta srivastav   Thu Jun 18 2009
dear sir,upto what duration chiraita can be taken?
rejani krishnankutty   Sun Jan 24 2010
Respected Sir, Have researches been conducted on this herb, to prove that it is actually effective as a treatment for Diabetes or Skin disorders??
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Subject : Swertia chirayita  

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