Chiretta (Swertia chirata)
Native to the Himalayas, this annual herb grows to a height of three feet. Chiretta grows a single stalk of pale green flowers that are tinged with purple. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine in many combination formulas.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Chiretta stimulates the digestion and helps to normalize blood sugar, which makes it useful for diabetics. Studies with animals suggest that this herb reduces the sugar levels only when they are high, which lowers the risk of hypoglycemia. The bitterness of the herb stimulates saliva and gastric juices, which help stop nausea, bloating, indigestion and hiccups. It is also used for fever and to rid the body of parasites. It is a tonic for the heart, liver and eyes, and can be useful to relieve sciatica, cough, scanty urine and melancholia.
Chiretta is used as a preventative measure for malaria during epidemics. It is given as a tonic to people convalescing from a long illness. It is a blood purifier, and can prevent edema. This herb can also be used during bouts of hysteria or convulsions as a calming herbal remedy. It is also very effective for reducing the intensity of gastric ulcers. This herb is antimicrobial. Studies are underway to see if this herb continues to offer a reduction in cancer cells when taken to fight cancer.
Externally Chiretta decoction can be added to a bath to help skin rashes. Skin diseases with burning sensations, oozing and itching respond well to this herb.
Other Uses the herb is used in veterinary medicine.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Chiretta is one of the ingredients in the Chinese patent medicine known as Tian Xian. When combined with camphor and shilajit, it can be used for syphilis and chronic fever.
Whole plant The whole plant is used medicinally.
Chiretta should be avoided by people with gastric or duodenal ulcers. This herb is considered safe when taken as prescribed. Do not medicate yourself with this herb, only use it under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
Preparation and Dosage
Due to its bitterness, chiretta is most commonly taken as a tincture, although it can be taken as an infusion to stimulate the digestion. A common dosage is 2 to 5 ml of tincture taken per day. If you take capsules, 1 to 2 capsules of 500 mg each should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach. If you are using a commercial preparation, follow the directions on the label or as directed by your care provider.