Frasera japonica (Schult.) Toyok.
Gentiana japonica Schult.
Ophelia japonica (Schult.) Griseb.
Swertia rotata Thunb.
Synallodia japonica Raf.
Common Name: Semburi
Swertia japonica is an annual to biennial plantwith stems that are unbranched or branched from the base; it can grow around 5 - 40cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, as an ingredient in commercial cosmetics, and perhaps also occasionally as a food.
E. Asia - southern Korea, Japan.
Sunny slopes and thickets in lowland and hills all over Japan; at elevations up to 1,700 metres[
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Swertia species are generally plants of moderate to high elevations where they are often found on damp slopes and humus-rich, peat mosses. They grow best in areas with cool summers and perennial species are generally cold-hardy to temperatures down to around -15°c[
Succeeds in a moist humus-rich soil in damp light woodlands, streamsides or the bog garden[
]. Grows best in areas with cool summers[
The plant is monocarpic, living for one to three years before flowering and dying after it flowers[
It is cultivated as a medicinal herb in China[
It requires a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria[
The leaves might be edible cooked as a potherb[
The whole plant is bitter and stomachic[
]. It is also reported to show hair tonic, antimicrobial and antitumor activity[
]. The plant is used in the treatment of digestive disorders.
The plant has been shown to have a potent hypoglycaemic effect, the active principle being a xanthone 'bellidifoline', and to also exert a protective action upon the liver mainly due to the activity of the compound tetrahydroswertianolin[
An extract of the plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a sin conditioner[
The dried and powdered plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a humectant and skin conditioner[
Seed - sow in trays in spring in a humus-rich medium in temperatures not exceeding 10°c[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.