Swertia

Swertia chirata, also known as Kiratatikta, is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used in many ways throughout the centuries. The Swertia plant is a member of the Gentian family, with chirata being the most highly prized and frequently used species. It grows in sub-temperate regions on moist, shady slopes in the Himalayas at altitudes ranging between 1200 and 2100 m. It is recognizable for its long, slender leaves and a white or blue-purple, star-shaped blossom.

Swertia Chirata Herb Benefits

Known for its exceptionally bitter taste, local people shave long used Swertia chirata for its many medicinal uses. As with most bitter herbs, it is often made into a digestive tonic. It is highly effective for the relief of constipation, gastritis, and indigestion.

The entire plant is used in traditional preparations of the medicine. Every part, from root to flower, is rich in bioactive compounds. The high number of different compounds makes Swertia unique in the medicinal plant world. More than 30 chemicals with known or potential therapeutic properties have so far been identified. This explains why Swertia has shown effectiveness for such widely differing conditions as epilepsy and diabetes as used by Ayurvedic practitioners.
swertia chirata herb benefits - dendera naturally
Swertia Chirata herb benefits known in Ayurvedic circles to be especially useful for the control of blood sugar. A typical regimen would be the consumption of 1-2 grams of powder mixed with honey each morning. The herb's anti-diabetic role is by far the most studied by modern researchers. A recent study again confirmed its efficacy for diabetes. It concluded that a water-based extract of Swertia chirata bark increased glucose uptake by 59%. It did so by increasing insulin secretion and enhancing its action. Although the exact mechanism of action is not known, it is surmised that it is due to the presence of swerchirin, a potent polyphenol antioxidant.

The high number of antioxidant compounds in Swertia is also responsible for its ability to protect and detoxify the liver. In Ayurvedic medical practice, Swertia chirata is one of the oldest medicinal herbs used to treat liver disorders. Jaundice, hepatitis, and fatty liver are just a few of the conditions for which Swertia has been prescribed. Today it is also used to offset the effects of drugs and alcohol as well as environmental toxins. Even acetaminophen poisoning has been successfully counteracted with an extract of Swertia.

The list of other therapeutic uses of Swertia is extensive. Typical examples are as antiparasitic, antifungal, antibacterial, antidepressant, and cholesterol-lowering agents. Its ability to lower cholesterol as well as blood sugar has made it a sought after ingredient in weight management supplements.
 
Because of its increasing popularity and loss of natural habitat due to climate change, Swertia chirata is becoming scarce in its natural environment. Efforts are being undertaken to encourage its sustainable cultivation in other parts of India and other countries in Southeast Asia with a suitable climate. This effort will ensure the continued availability of this highly therapeutic Ayurvedic herb.

To view our supplements containing Swertia chirata, click here.
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