Chirata is a medicinal herb that grows twice a year up to a height of 4 feet. The plant is cultivated extensively in Bhutan and many mountainous regions of northern India. Ancient Vedic literature carries proof of the various medicinal benefits of this wonder herb. Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani testify to the pharmacological properties of Chirata. Chirata herb is used to treat various ailments like liver disorders, diabetes and malaria, to name a few. The scientific name of Chirayata is Swertia Chirata. Swertia species are fairly common in herbal ingredients. The demand for this plant is growing by leaps and bounds nationally as well as internationally.
- Chirata is extremely pungent and hot in taste but cold in potency. Chirata derives its potency from the incredible amount of nutrients it possesses.
- The herb contains alkaloids, glycosides (swertiamarin, amarogentin, chiratol, gentiopicrin, swertanone, swerchirin, xanthones, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, chiratanin and xanthone, to be specific) and most importantly, antioxidants.
- Alkaloids are useful in treating a range of chronic heart illnesses.
- Glycosides, on the other hand, are known to cure congestive heart failure, cancer and diabetes.
- It also shows antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
- Finally, antioxidants help to lower the risk of infections and enhance immunity. These compounds give Chirayata a bitter taste.
Chirata capsules are egg-shaped. They are either transparent or slightly yellow coloured. Individuals who are suffering from a liver, kidney or heart disease are usually prescribed 1 Chirayata capsule per day. Herbal medicines like Ayush-64, Diabecon, Mensturyl syrup and Melicon V ointment also contain Chirata in varying concentrations. The herb flowers and produces innumerable small, brown-hued seeds.
For health benefits, you can start your day by consuming a few of these edible seeds. Keep in mind that this seed is known to intensify your body heat, so do not consume too many of them in a day. The appropriate dose also depends on an individual’s age, health and other factors.
Chirayata has a variety of medical benefits. Here are a few prominent ones:
1. The methanolic extracts of Chirayata possess strong anti-diabetic activities. The herb stimulates insulin production in pancreatic cells, thereby lowering blood sugar naturally.
2. Chirata is used extensively by people living in the Himalayan regions and Bhutan to treat inflammation and digestive ailments.
3. According to a research published online in 2016, Chirayata is also known to successfully cure epilepsy, ulcers, scanty urine, hypertension, melancholia, certain types of mental disorders and asthma. It also purifies the blood of any toxins.
4. A 2015 research hinted at the herb’s quality of suppressing hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B is a chronic liver infection and can cause organ failure and cancer in extreme cases. Chirata can inhibit the replication of hepatitis B virus.
5. Apart from having antifungal and antibacterial properties, Chirata also shows antimalarial, anti-fatigue and anti-ageing effects. It can prove to be very effective in lowering blood sugar levels and blood pressure-related issues. It is used in combination with the seeds of Divi-divi (Guilandina bonducella) to treat malaria.
6. It is powerful enough to heal fever, cough, joint pain, asthma and the common cold. If you consume it in capsule form or eat the seeds with your breakfast, your health will restore in no time.
7. Taking Chirata in small concentrations in capsule, syrup or seed form can help reduce headaches, hysteria, compulsions and tremor fevers.
8. The paste of Chirata plant can be applied to the skin to treat acne, pimples and eczema.
9. You can consume Chirata to safely flush toxins from your stomach without straining the organ. The herb is known to combat stomach disorders such as gastritis, constipation, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, loss of appetite and intestinal worms.
10. Vaginal discharge is a normal occurrence. However, abnormal or excessive discharge can indicate an infection. Chirata is known to successfully combat this. Anaemia, on the other hand, is another common issue in women as they lose blood every month. This can take a toll on their body both pre and post pregnancy. Chirata addresses these largely ignored female health concerns.
11. Chirayata in small amounts can be used in combination with other potent drugs to treat lethal ailments such as a scorpion bite. The reactions of a scorpion bite, if severe, can last from 7 to 10 days. Most scorpion bites require intensive medical care. The after-effects of a bite are fever and muscle spasms, to name a few.
Chirayata has a range of culinary uses. Here are some of them:
1. For fever and indigestion: Squeeze out the juice of the whole plant. Consume a 1/4th teaspoon of that concoction once a day. You can alternatively dry out parts of the Chirata plant and have a 1/4th teaspoon of it at least once daily.
2. For nausea: Powder the roots of Chirata plant. Mix one teaspoon honey in it and have this infusion daily.
3. For acne: Grind the leaves of Neem and Chirata together. Add water to the powder to make it a paste. Apply on acne. Keep it on for 10-15 minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Repeat until you get the desired results.
4. For diabetes: Have one teaspoon of powdered Chirayata along with water half an hour after lunch and dinner.
There is not enough research to determine whether Chirata is safe for consumption in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. To be on the safe side, avoid consuming Chirata seeds, syrup and capsule unless specified. Chirata is also known to interfere with blood sugar levels. So in case you have a surgery scheduled, stop its intake two weeks before the surgery. You’re advised not to mix chirata capsules with diabetes tablets as your blood sugar levels may drop beyond the normal limit.
Chirata Side Effects
Chirata is an extremely bitter herb. It induces vomit in individuals who can’t stand the taste. While it is known to help lower blood pressure, keep in mind that the blood pressure cannot fall beyond a certain limit. In isolation, the herb cannot treat a person’s blood pressure-related issues. Stay on the lookout for symptoms of hypoglycemia, where a person’s blood glucose levels fall way beyond the desired limit. The early signs include increased thirst, headaches, concentration issues, blurred vision, frequent peeing, fatigue and weight loss.
After consuming Chirata, a few people claimed that they feel dizzy and their hands and feet went numb. The herb can have different effects on different people, so it is best to take it in capsule form only after a thorough discussion with an Ayurveda physician. It is also ideal to consume it with tea rather than ingesting seeds, capsules or syrups without a medical prescription.