Chiraita – Swertia Chirata

Chiraita / Bitter Stick / Bitterstick / Chiretta / East Indian Balmony / Indian Bolonong /  Kirata / Swertia chirata. Genus Swertia (of Gentianaceae family) – annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants 0.6–1.5 m high, although most species rarely grow above 80 cm. The whole plant is used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Swertia chirayita (fam.Gentianaceae), a popular medicinal herb indigenous to the temperate Himalayas is used in traditional medicine to treat numerous ailments such as liver disorders, malaria, and diabetes and are reported to have a wide spectrum of pharmacological properties. Its medicinal usage is well-documented in Indian pharmaceutical codex, the British, and the American pharmacopeias and in different traditional medicine such as the Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and other conventional medical systems. This ethnomedicinal herb is known mostly for its bitter taste caused by the presence of different bioactive compounds that are directly associated with human health welfare. The wide-range biological activities of S. chirayita are attributed to the presence of a diverse group of pharmacologically bioactive compounds belonging to different classes such as xanthones and their derivatives, lignans, alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenoids, iridoids, secoiridoids, and other compounds such as chiratin, ophelicacid, palmitic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, amarogentin, swertiamarin, mangiferin, swerchirin, sweroside, amaroswerin, gentiopicrin.

  • Amarogentin: Antileishmanial, Topoisomerase inhibitor, Anticancer, Anti-diabetic, Gastroprotective.
  • Swertiamarin: CNS depressant, Anticholinergic, Anticancer, Anti-hepatitis, Antibacterial, Cardio-protective, anti-atherosclerotic, Anti-diabetic, Anti-arthritic
  • Mangiferin: Antiviral, Immunomodulatory, Antitumor, Anti-HIV, Antioxidant, Chemopreventive, Antiinflammatory, Hypoglycemic, Anti-diabetic, Antiatherosclerotic, Antiparkinson.
  • Swerchirin: Hypoglycemic, Hepatoprotective, Antimalarial, Hypoglycemic, Hepatoprotective, Pro-heamatopoietic, with blood glucose lowering activity and weak chemo preventive harmacological effects. Swerchirin at different concentrations (1, 10, and 100 μM) significantly enhances glucose stimulated insulin release from isolated islets.
  • Sweroside: Antibacterial, Hepatoprotective, Hyperpigmentation, Osteoporosis.
  • Amaroswerin:  Gastroprotective.
  • Gentianine: Antipsychotic, Antimalarial.
  • Oleanolic acid: Antimicrobial, Antitumor, Antiinflamatory, Antioxidant.
  • Ursolic acid: Antimicrobial, Antitumor.
  • Swertanone: Antiinflammatory.
  • Syringaresinol: Hepatoprotective.
  • Bellidifolin: Hypoglycemic.
  • Isobellidifolin: Hypoglycemic.
  • 1-Hydroxy-3,5,8-trimethoxyxanthone: Antimalarial.
  • 1-Hydroxy-3,7,8-trimethoxyxanthone: Spasmogenic agent, Antiulcerogenic.
  • 1,5,8-trihydroxy-3-methoxyxanthone: Blood sugar lowering.
  • β-Amyrin: Anti-inflammatory.


  • Fever
  • Malaria
  • Constipation
  • Worm infestations
  • Upset stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin diseases
  • Cancer
  • Other conditions.

Cautions: There are no contraindications for plants of the genus Svertsia, however, they should be used only after consultation with your doctor. It is highly recommended not to use the plant during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in childhood, in order to avoid unpleasant consequences.