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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    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade
Swertia chirayita Chiretta

Swertia chirayita Chiretta


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Physical Characteristics

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

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Gentiana chirayita Roxb. ex Fleming. Ophelia chirata

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

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  Malaria  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].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

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].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

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

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Swertia bimaculata Annual/Biennial0.6 6-9  LMHSNM10 
Swertia japonica Annual0.2 -  LMHSMWe11 
Swertia petiolata Perennial0.6 6-9  LMHSMWe02 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(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 rajendrakala12@ 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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