Chirata, also known as Bitter Stick or Chirayta is a medicinal herb plant native to temperate Himalaya. It is used for treating a variety of medical conditions such as:
- Stomach upset
- Loss of appetite
- Intestinal worms
- Digestive disorders
In India, it is combined with the seeds of Guilandina bonducella (divi-divi ) and used for the treatment malaria. It is also used in manufacturing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Chemical Composition of Chirata
Phytochemical ingredients analysis of Swertia chirata (Gentianaceae) shows that it contains Swertiamarin, Amarogentin, Swechirin, Mangiferin, Sweroside, Gentianine, Amaroswerin, Oleanolic acid, Swertanoone and Ursolic acid. .
Dosage of Chirata
The dose of Chirata depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health condition, and several other conditions. As a tonic, chirata is taken by mouth as an infusion or tincture in doses of 5-30 grains with honey three times daily. Swertia chirata has been taken by mouth in hot water with cloves or cinnamon in doses of up to one fluid ounce. Up to two ounces of Swertia chiratahas been taken by mouth twice daily before meals.
In Powdered form the dose of Chirata is 1-3 grams in divided dose.
In water based decoction/ infusion, the dose of Chirata is 50-100ml in divided doses per day.
Side Effects of Chirata
Although there is scarcity of literature and studies on Chirata, medicinal usage of plant is documented in the American and the British pharmacopoeias including the Indian pharmaceutical codex and in the different traditional systems of medicine (Unani, Ayurveda and Siddha). When taken orally in prescribed quantities the herb is safe. However, the safety of taking chirata during pregnancy or breast-feeding has not been established. In addition, Chirata use by diabetics might lower blood sugar levels in some people and cause hypoglycemia, it also can make ulcers in the intestine worse.
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