Foto info
ative Photo: Balkar Singh
Common name: Chirayita • Hindi: चिरायत Chirayata, Charaita, Chirata • Marathi: Charayatah, Chirayita • Tamil: Nilavembu, Shirattakuchi, Anariyatittam • Malayalam: Kiriyatta, Kiriyattu, Nilaveppa, Uttarakiriyattu • Telugu: Nelavemu • Kannada: Nelabevu • Urdu: Chiraita shireen • Sanskrit: Anaryatikta, Ardhatikta, Bhunimba, Chiratika
Botanical name: Swertia chirayita    Family: Gentianaceae (Gentian family)
Synonyms: Swertia chirata, Ophelia chirata

Chirayita is a medicinal plant indigenous to temperate Himalaya. Chirayita has an erect, about 2–3 ft long stem, the middle portion is round, while the upper is four-angled, with a prominent decurrent line at each angle. The stems are orange brown or purplish in colour. The root is simple, tapering and stout, short, almost 7 cm long and usually half an inch thick. Flowering in Chirayita is in the form of numerous small, axillary, opposite, lax cymes arranged as short branches and the whole inflorescence is 2 ft long. Flowers are small, stalked, green-yellow, tinged with purple colour. The flower-tube is twice as long as the sepal-cup and divided near the base into four ovate–lancelike segments. The upper surface of the petal has a pair of nectaries covered with oblong scales and ending as fringes. The plant is found at an altitude of 1200–3000 m, from Kashmir to Bhutan, and in the Khasi hills at 1200–1500 m. It can be grown in sub-temperate regions between 1500 and 2100 m altitudes.
Medicinal uses: Its medicinal usage is reported in Indian pharmaceutical codex, the British and the American pharmacopoeias and in different traditional systems of medicines such as the Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Deovan Herbal Garden, Chakrata, Uttarakhand.
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