|Chiretta Quick Facts|
|Scientific Name:||Andrographis paniculata|
|Origin||Mountainous parts of South Asian countries such as North India, Sikkim, Kumoun, Kashia and Sri Lanka|
|Shapes||Small one-celled capsules that is egg-shaped, many-sided, sharp-pointed|
|Health benefits||Lowers Fever, Protects the Liver, Anti-parasitic, Skin Care, Cures Anemia, Checks Diabetes, Anti-cancer|
Being a member of Gentianaceae family Swertia chirayita is often called Gentiana chirayita, Indian Gentian, Ophelia chirata, or simply Chiretta. The trade name chirayata is based on the local name of the plant. It has long been used by the ayurvedic physicians as a bitter tonic. The whole plant is collected during its flowering stage and is dried and used as a drug. The reference of Chirata can be found in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient healing text of Ayurveda. Chirata alleviates the Kapha and Pitta doshas. It is bitter in taste, cold in potency and pungent in the post digestive effects.
Chiretta is a robust, herbaceous flowering annual herb that grows about 4-5 feet tall. The plant is fund growing in woodland garden sunny edge, dappled shade, shady edge, bog garden and flourishes in woodland gardens having a sunny edge, partial shade, in shade as well as in marshy lands. The plant also thrives and flourishes well in acidic, neutral as well as basic or alkaline soils. The plant can grow well in semi-shade or slightly woodland conditions and needs humid or damp soil. Root is simple, tapering and stout, short, almost 7 cm long and usually half an inch thick. Stem is simple, erect, glabrous, robust, branching, about 3 feet tall, cylindrical below and 4-angled upwards, containing continuous, easily separable pith inside the thin layer of woody bark. It is orange brown or purplish in color. The tender branches situated mainly on the upper part of the stem, springing out of the axils of only a few opposite sessile leaves a plant has.
Leaves are in opposite pair about 10 cm long, 5-nerved, without stalks, pointed at the tip. They are lanceolate, acute, entire and smooth with visible lateral veins.
Flower is small, numerous, tetramerous, large leafy panicles, green-yellow, and tinged with purple and green or white hairs. The calyx is gamophyllous with four lobes, corolla-lobes four twisted and superimposed, united at the base where they have pairs of nectaries on each lobe covered with long hairs. Stamens 4, opposite the corolla lobe, at the base of the corolla. Ovary is unilocular with ovules laminal placentation parietale and two stigmas. Chiretta flowers possess both the male and female organs. The flowers are situated on the long slender peduncles and are arranged as cymes. Flowering normally takes place from September to October.
In October-November fertilize flowers are followed by small one-celled egg shaped capsules many-sided and sharp-pointed. Pericarp of the fruit is transparent yellow, enclosing numerous tiny angular seeds. Seeds are very small, numerous, smooth, many angled and dark brownish in color.
Health Benefits of Chiretta (Andrographis paniculata)
Andrographis paniculata or sometimes called Chiretta is a bitter herb from India that has many health benefits. It is used by different indigenous population groups in multiple ways for several medicinal purposes. The whole plant is widely used by local people for the treatment of hepatitis, inflammation, and digestive diseases. The wide range of medicinal uses include the treatment of malaria, anemia, bronchial asthma, hepatitis, gastritis, constipation, dyspepsia, skin diseases, worms, epilepsy, hypertension, and diabetes .Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Chiretta
1. Lowers Fever
Chirata has been used to reduce fever caused due to cold and flu very efficiently. It also works on malarial fever, hysteria and convulsions. So if you feel unwell and run a temperature try having some chirata extract to get well sooner.
2. Protects the Liver
Chirata has hepato-protective properties in abundance. The word hepato-protective is self-explanatory (Hepato- related to liver + protective). It helps to get rid of toxins from the body and also contributes towards a healthy liver. It also helps in the regeneration of new liver cells.
Chirata helps to remove parasites like helminthes, roundworms, tapeworms and flukes from the body. It also helps to heal the symptoms caused due the parasite attack in the body. Diarrhea, anaemia of the lungs and liver and other such terrible side effects can be treated using Chirata.
4. Skin Care
Chirata is the skins best friend. Their antioxidant property helps clear the skin. It comes handy in treating various skin conditions such as rashes, inflammation, itching, burning sensation and redness. It can also be diluted by mixing with water and used for cleaning oozing on the skin.
5. Cures Anaemia
Chirata helps in creating more blood in the body. Anaemia can be treated using this plant. Anemic conditions can lead to a list of health problems which can become serious to the extent of being life threatening. Anaemia is common in women as losing blood is a monthly affair for them. This takes a heavy toll on their body particularly during and after pregnancy.
6. Checks Diabetes
Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that has spread like wild fire due to increased stress, irregular food habits and improper lifestyle of this generation. Chirata helps reduce the amount of sugar present in the blood by stimulating the pancreatic cells to secrete more insulin.
Chirata due to the presence of powerful antioxidants prevents the precancerous lesions from progressing and puts a check on cancer. It is most effective in case of liver cancer. This is one of the most important properties of this plant as the search of remedies for cancer has been a matter of great priority among doctors and scientists.
Traditional uses and benefits of Chiretta
- Chiretta is a traditional Ayurvedic herb.
- A strongly bitter tonic it is an excellent remedy for a weak stomach, particularly when this gives rise to nausea, indigestion and bloating, and it has also been shown to protect the liver.
- It is a widely used restorative tonic of the digestive system.
- It also contains xanthones, which are supposedly effective against malaria and tuberculosis, and also amarogentin, a glycoside that may protect the liver against carbon tetrachloride poisoning.
- Whole plant is an extremely bitter tonic digestive herb that lowers fevers and is stimulant.
- Herb has a beneficial effect on the liver, promoting the flow of bile, it also cures constipation and is useful for treating dyspepsia.
- Chirata is a good herbal remedy for strengthening the Stomach.
- It improves stomach functions, stimulates the production of gastric juices and speeds up the digestion process.
- It is effective in reducing pain and swelling of the joints, particularly in Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Anathematic action of Chiretta helps in destroying the intestinal worms.
- It is a haemostatic herb and is satisfactory for a person suffering from bleeding piles.
- It help in slowing down the aging, repairing the DNA and occurrence of Cardiovascular diseases.
- Antioxidant action guards the cells from turning cancerous, especially Liver Cancer.
- Antiviral action of Chirata is used for fighting the herpes and papilloma virus.
- It lowers the fever from cold, flu and malaria.
- Decoction of Chirata provides relief from itching, burning sensation and skin Rash.
- It is tonic for Heart, Liver and Eyes.
- It is beneficial in the treatment of malarial fevers. It is also effective in hysteria and convulsion.
- It boosts insulin production in pancreatic cells thus lowering blood sugar naturally.
- It helps with heavy monthly periods, internal bleeding, and nose bleeds.
- It has the ability to protect against cancer because of powerful antioxidant compounds that stop the progression of precancerous lesions… especially liver cancer.
- It also boosts your metabolism which in turn helps you burn more calories thus helps you with weight loss.
- Root of the plant is useful in checking hiccups and vomiting.
- When given along with neem, manjishta and gotu kola, it serves as a cure for various skin problems.
- It is used in combination with other drugs in cases of scorpion bite.
- Paste of the plant is applied to treat skin diseases such as eczema and pimples.
- Decoction of the leaves or roots can be used as treatment for stomach pain, dysentery, typhus, cholera, influenza, and bronchitis.
- Infusion can be used for treating female disorders, dyspepsia, hypertension, gonorrhea, jaundice, rheumatism, amenorrhea, and torpid liver.
- As a poultice, it cures swollen legs or feet, Vitiligo and piles.
- Roots and leaves are mostly used to reduce fever, tone the stomach, increase appetite, and generally improve one’s health condition.
- Powdered leaves are found to have the capacity to aid in common colds by shortening its duration.
Ayurvedic Health benefits of Chirata
- Fever: Squeeze out the juice of Chirata plant. Take 1/4 teaspoon once a day. OR: Prepare an infusion of dried parts of Chirata plant. Have 1/4 teaspoon once a day.
- Indigestion: Take 1/4 teaspoon juice of Chirata plant once a day. OR: Have it in the form of infusion in same quantity.
- Skin Diseases: Prepare an infusion of dried parts of Chirata plant. Apply on the affected part.
- Hiccups: Powder the Chirata roots. Take a pinch with one teaspoon Honey.
- Nausea: Mix a pinch Chirata root powder in one teaspoon Honey and take.
- Hay fevers: Prepare a decoction of Chirata. Mix one cup decoction in one liter cold water. Apply it on all over the body.
- Intestinal Diseases: Mix 2 pinches Chirata powder in one cup lukewarm water and take at night.
- Fatigue: Take one Clove, one Cinnamon and 2 pinch of Chirata powder. Mix all in one cup lukewarm water. Keep for 15 minutes. Strain. Add one teaspoon Honey and Drink once a day.
- Hay Fevers: Take a pinch of dried Chirata. Boil in one cup water. Filter. Add one teaspoon Honey and half teaspoon Ginger powder. Drink lukewarm.
- Acne: Antiseptic action of Neem and Chirata is helpful in countering Acne. Make a paste by grinding few leaves of Neem and Chirata. Add some water to make a paste. Apply it on the affected area and let it dry. Wash with normal water. It also provides a healthy and glowing Skin.
How to uѕе Chіrеttа (Swеrtіа chiretta)
Swеrtіа сhіrеttа, which іѕ extremely bitter to taste, іѕ best used as a tіnсturе. However, сhіrеttа іѕ аlѕо available іn tеа fоrm. Chiraita аlѕо forms an ingredient in thе іmроrtеd Chinese patent mеdісаtіоn Tіаn Xian. In Indіа, dried Chiraita іѕ soaked overnight in wаtеr (аbоut ½ cups) thеn thе fіltеrеd wаtеr is tаkеn empty stomach іn thе morning.
Dosing consideration for Chirata
Appropriate dose of chirata for use as treatment depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for chirata. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
- Do not exceed recommended dose.
- Avoid use during Pregnancy and breast feeding.
- It should be avoided by people with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
- Bitterness of Chirata may induce vomiting in some people.
- Do not medicate yourself with this herb; only use it under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
- Chirata lowers the blood sugar, so it should be taken with the right prescription.
- It may induce vomiting, due to its bitter taste.
- Stop using chirata as a medicine at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.