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Useful Temperate Plants

Swertia chirayita

(Roxb.) H.Karst.

Gentianaceae

+ Synonyms

Agathotes chirayita (Roxb.) D.Don ex G.Don

Ericoila chirayita (Roxb.) Bercht. & J.Presl

Eyrythalia floribunda G.Don

Gentiana chirayita Roxb.

Gentiana floribunda D.Don

Henricea pharmacearcha Lem.

Ophelia chirayita (Roxb.) Griseb.

Swertia chirata Buch.-Ham. ex Wall.

Swertia tongluensis Burkill

Common Name: Chiretta

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General Information

Swertia chirayita is a biennial to monocarpic perennial plant, producing a rosette of leaves in its first one or more years of growth before producing a robust flowering stem around 60 - 150cm tall with branches in the top part. The plant usually dies after flowering[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and for commercial use in cosmetics. A very popular medicinal herb in India and Nepal, where it is harvested in large quantities and traded[
2020
Title
Trade in Indian Medicinal Plants
Publication
Ethnobotany of India Vol 5., 321-345, 2018
Author
D.K.Ved, S.Noorunnisa Begum, & K.Ravi Kumar
Publisher
Apple Academic Press; Oakville, Canada
Year
2018
ISBN
978-1-77188-600-0
Description
 
]. It is one of the most commonly exported medicinal herbs in Nepal, where large quantities are sent to India and traded in the markets there[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
]. As a result of its popularity as a medicine, the plant is now (2008) being cultivated in parts of Nepal[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

E. Asia - Himalayas from Pakistan, through Nepal to northeast India.

Habitat

Open and moist places, shady places on the forest floor, pastures, and along the edges of agriculture fields; at elevations from 1,200 - 3,000 metres[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
,
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitAnnual/Biennial
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Swertia chirayita is a fairly cold-hardy plant, tolerating winter temperatures down to at least -15°c[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It grows best in areas with cool summers[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Succeeds in a moist humus-rich soil in damp light woodlands, streamsides or the bog garden[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plant thrives in fertile sandy-loam soils of acidic nature[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
] Succeeds in full sun or partial shade[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
In its first year or more of growth the plant remains vegetative, producing only a rosette of leaves above ground. Only after two to three years does the plant produce a flowering stem and usually dies after it has produced seed. Occasionally the plant will not die after flowering but will live for at least another flowering season[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

Edible Uses

The plant contains the bitter glycoside amarogentin, which is used to some extent as an alternative bitter agent to quinine in the liquor and soft drink industries[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

Medicinal

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
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. It is perhaps best known in India as the main ingredient in 'mahasudarshana churna', a remedy containing more than 50 herbs[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].
The whole plant is an extremely bitter tonic digestive herb that lowers fevers and is stimulant[
165
Title
The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
Publication
 
Author
Mills. S. Y.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent small herbal.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It also shows antipyretic, sudorific, antiperiodic, anthelmintic, antiinflammatory and hypoglycaemic properties[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
]. It has a beneficial effect on the liver, promoting the flow of bile, it also treats constipation and is useful for treating dyspepsia[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. The plant is widely used to treat fevers. The dried plant is soaked in water overnight and the extract is taken orally to treat fevers, colds and coughs[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].
Applied topically, the plant is also used in the treatment of cuts and wounds[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

The crushed seeds are considered most effective in treating fevers, colds, coughs[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

The juice of the leaves and roots is taken with water to treat headache, malarial fever, stomach disorder and as an anthelmintic medicine[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

The leaves and part of the stem are chewed raw to treat fevers and malarial fever[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].

The plant has an interesting chemistry, similar in many respects to Gentiana lutea, a widely used restorative tonic of the digestive system[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The plant contains xanthones, which are reputedly effective against malaria and tuberculosis[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The plant contains the bitter glycosides amaroswerin and amarogentin. Amarogentin is the most bitter substance known, with a bitterness index of 58,000,000[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
], and there is evidence that it may protect the liver against carbon tetrachloride poisoning[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The plant is harvested when the seed is setting and then dried for later use[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

Other Uses

An extract of the whole plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a humectant[
1243
Title
CosIng
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.
].
An extract of the leaves is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an astringent[
1243
Title
CosIng
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in temperatures not exceeding 10°c in a humus-rich medium[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.
The seed has a viability of 3+ years[
1977
Title
Non-Timber Forest Products of Nepal Himalaya - database of some important species found in the mountain protected ar
Publication
 
Author
Ghimire S.K. et al
Publisher
WWF Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Year
2008
ISBN
978-99946-837-9-6
Description
 
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2024-06-15. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Swertia+chirayita>

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