About author :
Amir Khan*, Sarita Kumari, Fouzia Ishaq
Dept. of Biotechnology & Biochemistry
Sardar Bhagwan Singh Post Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences & Research, Dehradun, India
Chirata is dried aerial part of annual herb swertia chirata found in temperate Himalaya and belong to family Gentianaceae.It is also known as Indian gentian.
Biological Name: Swertia chirata, Gentiana chirayita
Family : Gentianaceae
Indian Name : Chirayata
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.
Principle constituent :
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. 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. 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 besides swerchirin and 7-O-Me swertiarin and monohydroxy terephthalic acid and 2,5-dihydroxy terephthalic acid were isolated from the herb. 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 and 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 the alkaloids gentianine, gentiocrucine and enicoflavine.
Key words: Alkaloids, mangiferin, gentiocrucine, enicoflavine
The ethanolic extract of S.chirayita exhibits hypoglycemic activity. Chirayatra is an effective drug for reducing fevers. It is specially beneficial in the treatment of malarial fevers. It is also effective in hysteria and convulsion. The herb is an excellent drug for strengthening the stomach and promoting its action. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia and diarrhoea. Chirayata possesses anthelmintic that is, worms destroying, properties and is used in killing intestinal worms. An infusion of the herb is taken for this purpose. It serves as an effective tonic in case of general weakness and during convalescence. The infusion of the plant can be taken in doses of 60ml or40 tablespoons twice a day, before meals. The herb is used in the from of an infusion or tincture.The infusion is prepared in the hot water with aromatics likes cloves and cinnamon. It is generally taken in doses of 15 to 30 ml or 1 to 2 tablespoon. The root of the plant is useful in checking hiccups and vomitting. It is taken in doses of 0.5 to 2 grams with honey.
The chirayata herb is remarkable for its properties in the removal of all kinds of intestinal worms. An infusion of the herb is prepared and taken regularly during parasitic infestations. The Swertia chiretta 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. The herb as well as its extracts is used as a bitter stimulant to treat fever as well as curing several skin problems.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 aciddeposits. It is a remedy also for convalescence from exhausting sickness, and for atonic and nervous forms of dyspepsia.
Basically, Swertia chiretta is a Ayurvedic therapeutic plant. An astringent stimulantprepared with the plant is an outstanding medication for weak stomach, particularly when itresults in indigestion, bloating and nausea. In addition, this bitter tonic is also said to be effectivein protecting the liver. Chirayata is a valuable bitter tonic. It is laxative and an appetizer. It also corrects the disordered process of nutrition and restores the normal function of the system. It is an effective herb for reducing fevers. It isespecially beneficial in the treatment of malarial fevers. It is also effective in hysteria andconvulsions. It also show hypoglycemic activity.