Swertia chirata; කිරාත

Swertia is a genus in the gentian family containing plants sometimes referred to as the felworts. Some species bear very showy purple and blue flowers. Many members of this genus have medicinal and cultural purposes. Chirata is also known and referred to as 'Swertia Chirata' (scientific name), 'Bitter Stick', 'East Indian Balmony', 'Kairata', 'Kirata', among others. It is said that this flowering plant can grow up to a height of three to four feet, in the mountainous regions of India and Bhutan.

Benefits of Chirata:

Chirata is used for fever, constipation, upset stomach, loss of appetite, intestinal worms, skin diseases, and cancer. Some people use it as “a bitter tonic.” In India, it has been used for malaria, when combined with the seeds of divi-divi (Guilandina bonducella).

Nutritional Value of Chirata:

Chirata contains several compounds that contribute to its medicinal value. The compounds include Xanthones, alkaloids, and glycosides. They also consist of ophelic acid, chiratin, steric acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid. Swertanone, amarogenin, and chiratol are other important components present in Chirata.

Side Effects of Chirata:

No side effects are observed when Chirata is taken as a flavoring agent in foods. However, there is no sufficient information to know if Chirata is safe when used in large amounts.

【Text by Lakpura™. Images by Google, copyright(s) reserved by original authors.】