Kiratatikta is a very famous Ayurveda herb used mainly in the treatment of infectious and inflammatory conditions like fever, skin diseases etc. The word meaning of Kirata tikta is – utterly bitter.
Swertia chirata is known as Chirayata or Kiratatikta in India. This annual herb is found all across India. Whole plant is usually used and its twigs and leaves are very rich in its active constituents.
Kirata tikta is a severe bitter herb appreciated well in the treatment of varieties of fevers, liver disorders and skin diseases. Kiratatikta and Bhoo nimba (Andrographis paniculata) are used mutually in the absence of one another due to similar nature and therapeutic actions.
Swertia chirata Bunch Ham. (Swertia chirayita (Roxb .ex flem) Karst. Or Swertia tongluensis Burkill.
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Hindi name- Chriayata,
English name- Chitretta
Bengali name- Chirata, Chireta
Tamil name- Nilavembu
Punjab name- Charatin, Charaita
Marathi name- Kiraita
Gujarati name- Kariyatum
Kannada name- Nilabevu, Kiratatikta
Malayalam name- Nilavipaa, Nilaveppa
Telugu name – Nilavemu
Arabian name – Kasabujajareeraa
Farsi name – Nainihaabandi
This herb is mentioned in almost all the classical literature like Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Ashtangahridayam, Ashtangasangraha, Chakradutta, Harita samhita, Bhavaprakasha, Sharangdhar Samhita, Bhaishajyaratnavali etc.
Differences between Kalamegha and Chirata
These two herbs are often used interchangeably. Kirata Tikta is a highly bitter herb, used in fever, cold, cough and Asthma. Mainly Kapha disorders.
Kalamegha is used in fever, liver, blood and skin complaints. Mainly Pitta disorders.
Kiratatikta and Kalamegha (Andrographis paniculata) are usually confused to each other and used interchangeably.
Raja Narahari Quoted two varieties viz, Kiratatikta and Naipala Nimba.
In Folklore medicine and in rural areas the Kalamegha is considered as Kirathathiktha and it is used in place of Kirathathiktha because of its similar morphology and properties.
Rasa (taste) – Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Rooksha (dryness)
Vipaka- Katu – undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
Virya- Sheeta – cold potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta.
Part used, Dosage
Whole Plant of Kirathathiktha is used for medicinal purpose. But most potent part is the root of Kiratatikta.
Dosage- Powder 1-3 grams in divided dose in a day.
water decoction / infusion – 50-100 ml in divided dose per day.
The scientists have evaluated its potent hepatoprotective, leishmanicidal, anti cancerous, anti ulcer, CNS depressant, anti inflammatory, anti helmethic, anti pyretic and anti microbial activities.
In Ayurveda it is used abundantly in the treatment of intermittent fever, asthma, skin diseases, chronic ulcers, sinus, fistula, liver disorders, worm infestation etc. According to Ayurveda it is a very good bitter tonic and is useful as a liver stimulant and appetizer.
Pittasranut – useful in bleeding disorders such as heavy periods, nasal bleeding etc.
Shophahara – useful in inflammatory conditions
Kasahara – relieves cough, cold
Trushna -excessive thirst
Jvarahara – useful in fever
Maladhwamsi – decreases bulk of stool, useful in easing bowel movement
Krumighni – useful in intestinal worm infestation
Balakapriya – useful in pediatric complaints like recurrent fever
Sannipatari – useful in chronic and recurrent fever
Nidrapaha – reduces sleep
Mehopaha – useful in urinary tract disorders, diabetes
Shwasahara – useful in asthma and wheezing
Dahahara – useful to relieve burning sensation
Kushtahara – useful in skin diseases
Vranahara – induces quick wound healing. Its water decoction (kashayam) is used in washing wounds, to relieve infection.
It is widely used in the treatment of liver disorders
In Haritha samhitha it is used in the treatment of scorpion bite with other herbs.
By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
Important simple remedies and their medicinal benefits of Kiratatikta are mentioned here below-
1. Kirat Tikt medicated oil in eczema and itching:
A fist full of whole plant (approximately 50 gram) is atken and fine paste is made. This is cooked with 200 ml of sesame oil or coconut oil till it is free from moisture. Then it is filtered and stored. This oil is used to apply over the itching skin lesions especially in eczema. In dandruff and seborrhic dermatitis also it is effective.
2. Kiratatikta – Ginger and Pepper decoction in recurrent fever and cold:
Equal amount of Kiratatikta- Ginger and Pepper are taken (3 gram each) and decoction is made by cooking with approximately 100 ml of water. This is administered in the dose of 20-30 ml three to four times a day. It pacifies recurrent fevers.
Read related: Easy Ayurveda Home Remedy For Fever And Cold
3. Fine powder with honey in anorexia and nausea:
2-3 gram of fine powder of Kiratatikta plant or leaves is taken and licked by mixing with honey. This helps to restore the hunger and thirst. In nausea and vomiting also it is beneficial.
Pin worm, spasmodic pain
4. Fine paste in pin worms and spasmodic pain:
Fine paste of the fresh herb is very beneficial in intestinal worms especially in pin worms. In recurrent spasmodic pains and menstrual pain also it is found to be effective.
5. Kiratatikta, neem and Triphala decoction in skin diseases:
The decoction prepared out of equal amount of Kiratatikta, neem and Triphala is used both for internal and external purpose. Externally it is used to wash the wounds in case of chronic skin diseases and in ulcers. Internal administration is effective in Diabetes, itching skin diseases and even in several eye disorders.
Kiratatikta being a bitter herb has several health benefits. If this plant is included in our kitchen garden surely several health benefits can be obtained.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD
Katu Tikta, Kandatikta, Kirata, Bhunimba, Ramasenaka
Kirathathiktha: Kiratha Desho Iski Janm sthanam astha ithi !
The drug is originally from Kiratha Desh.
Kiratha, Kirathi, Rogana, Kirathmchasao thikthashethi va Kirathathiktha
It destroys diseases because of its bitter taste.
Bhunimb: Bhuva: Nimb: Iva:
It is a small neem plant or herb
Kandathiktha: Thiktha Kanda Aksya
The stem is bitter in taste
Katukascha Asaw Thikthascha ithi katuthiktha
It is having thiktha rasa and katu vipaka
It is used as a tea in a quantity of one tea-cup full twice a day. It is a tonic in a tonic dyspepsia and functional inactivity of liver. Chiretta is much praised in India as a powerful tonic. It does not constipate the bowel but causes easy movement of bile.
Habit – Perennial herb, with no be robust stem, stem is 2-4 ft. long has many branches, terete except near the top.
Leaves – Opposite, simple, broadly lanceolate, 10 cm long and 4 cm wide with acute apex.
Inflorescence – Terminal panicle inflorescence.
Flower-Greenish yellow with purple tinge, two glands on each lobe, fringed with long hairs.
Fruit- Capsule, ovoid and oblong, 2-valved with many seeds.
Seeds- Minute, compressed and often winged.
Useful part- Whole herb.
Some people might not tolerate bitterness. In them, the decoction may induce vomiting.
It is safe to give in children and lactating mother. But the dose needs to be monitored carefully.
It is best to seek medical advice for use in pregnancy.
It lowers blood sugar levels. Hence precaution is required while administering it in diabetic patients.
Interaction with medicines, supplements
Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.
this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets,
Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.
Mahasudarsana kvatha, Sudarsana churna, Kiratatiktadi kvatha, Bhunimbadi kvatha, Tiktapancaka kvatha, Kiratadi taila, Tiktaka ghrita etc are the important formulations of Kiratatikta.
Stanyasodhana – group of herbs used in cleansing breast milk
Trushna nigrahana – group of herbs useful in relieving thirst
Tikta Skandha – Bitter tasting group of herbs
Ayurvedic medicines with Kiratatikta ingredient:
Kiratarishta – Used in fever and hematological conditions
Maha Manjisthadi Kashayam – Very famous Ayurveda medicine used in wide range of skin diseases
Panchatikta Kashayam – very potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial medicine used in fever
Other medicines with Kirata Tikta as ingredient:
Sudarshan Choorna – Charaka Samhitha
Kirathadi Kwatha – Charaka Samhitha
Bhunimbadi Kwatha – Sushrutha
Thiktha Panchaka Kwatha- Charaka Samhitha
Kirathadi Thaila – Sushrutha Samhitha
Chandraprabha Vati – Baishajya Ratnavali
Sathyadi Kwatha – Sushrutha Samhitha
Pachabhadra Kwatha – Charaka Samhitha
Sarva Jwarahara Thaila – Chakradatha
Phalathrikadi Kwatha – Chakradatha
Madhwasaava – Charaka Chi – 6
Thikthashadpalaka Gritha- Charaka Chi 7
DugalmBadi Gritha – Charaka Chi 8
Chandanadi Gritha – Charaka Chi 15
Mahathiktha Gritha – Yoga Rathnakar
Kashtakaryadi Kwatha – Yoga Rathnakar
Navanga Kashaya – Chakradatha
Kirathadi Kwatha – Chakradatha
Kirathadi Thaila – Chakradatha
Bahni Vati – Sharangadhara Samhitha
Chandraprabha Vati – Sharangadhara Samhitha
Sudarshan Choorna – Sharangadhara Samhitha
Maha Majjishttadi Kwatha- Sharangadhara Samhitha
Sudharshan Kwatha – Sharangadhara Samhitha
Chandanasava – Baishajya Rathnavali
Ushirasava – Baishajya Rathnavali
Kirathadi Choorna – Baishajya Rathnavali
Mahaneela Gritha – Sushrutha Samhitha
It is found in temperate Himalayas between Kashmir and Bhutan at 1200 – 1500 meter altitude.
Major chemical constituents
Amarogentin, Gentipicrin, Isobellicifolin , Decussation, Chiratol, Sweachirin, 7-0 methylswertianin, Mangiferin, Swertianin, Swertinin, Chiraranin, Enicoflavine, Geneianine, Episwertenol, B – Sitostetol etc
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
Chiratin is a chief bitter active constituent which are very bitter and amorphous glycosides.
Important phytochemicals of Kiratatikta are swertinin, swertianin, swerchirin, decussating, isobellidifolin, friedelin, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, aspartic acid, 9 tetraoxy genated xanthones, gentianine, gentiocrucine, eniflavine, arghinine, leucine, glutamic acid etc.
Division – Angiosperm
Sub Division- Dicotyledon
Class – Gamopetallae
Sub Class – Bicarpellotai
Order – Gentionale
Family – Gentianaceae
Gana or varga
In ancient Ayurveda treatise drugs have been grouped under either Gana or Varga. This grouping was based on the pharmacological properties as well as dietary use. Etymologically Varga or Gana will provide the forms meaning:
- Varga: is a group of limited number of herbs having similar pharmacological properties.
- Gana: is a group of large number of herbs having similar pharmacological properties.
According to Charaka Kirathathiktha is included under
Sushrutha has mentioned it under – Argawadhadi Gana
Bhavaprakasha – Harithakyathi Varga
Dhanwanthari Nigantu – Guduchyadi Varga
Raja Nigantu – Prabhadradi Varga