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Biological Name: Gentiana chirayita, Swertia chirataChirayata

Family: Gentianaceae

Other Names: Kiryat-charayatah, Kirata-tikta, Chirayata, Qasabuz-Zarirah, Bhunimba, Nila-vembu, Bhuchiretta, Nila-vemu, Charayatah, Mahatita, Chiretta, Kiryat-charayatah, Chiraita, Kiriyattu, Indian Gentian, Kiriath, Jwaran- thakah, kiraita, Kirata

Additional Info: The plant is native to Himalayan regions with temperate climate, and altitudes more than 4000 feet, found in Bhutan, Nepal, and Kashmir. Occasionally, it can be met in other regions of India. Nilavembu is the most suitable variation of the plant.

Elements Applied: Each plant’s part is applied in herbal medicine, but leaves in particular.

Active Components: The plant is known to contain the following bitter components:

  • Chiratin, a bitter glucoside
  • Ophelic acid, which is an amorphous bitter acid

Moreover, the herb contains:

  • Ash
  • Magnesia and lime
  • Potash phosphates and carbonates
  • Gum
  • Resins

No tannin content is reported.

Used For: The herb is known to relieve stomach conditions, stimulate its functionality, reduce fevers, kill helminthes, increase appetite, reduce constipation, increase metabolic rates, treat diarrhea, and prevent symptom reappearance.

As M. Mohanan and G. Nair state in their book called “Medicinal Plants of India”, the herb can be applied in the following range of conditions: bowel conditions, body burning, bronchial asthma, bowel helminthes, skin conditions, and recurrent fevers.

To prepare an infusion, take Chirayata with cinnamon, cloves, and other aromatic herbs, for a half to one ounce of water. In Ayurvedic medicine this infusion is indicated for vomiting and hiccup, and should be taken at a dose of two ounces two times per day prior to food intake.

Preparation and Intake: Herb infusion is the most common form of preparation. Tincture can be prescribed as an alternative. Decoction should be avoided. The common dose of root aided by honey is from 5 to 30 grains.

The plant is popularly added to a range of herbal mixtures.

Safety: The plant may cause vayu increase. Exercise care when taking it. Use the plant only under medical control.