Health & Wellness Swertia chirayita

CNS depression with Swertia chirayita; antioxidant action

Dexter jackson 2013

Swertia chirayita is a medicinal plant native to temperate Himalaya. The plant is used as a bitter tonic in treatment of fever and for curing various skin diseases. Swertia chirayita is often used as a whole plant in traditional medicine; however the root is mentioned to be the most powerful part. Lately, Swertia chirayita has found its way into bodybuilding supplements (like Jack3d). The main bioactive constituents of plant are xanthones, flavanoids, iridoids, secoiridoids glycosides, which plays a momentous role in its biological activities like antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antipyretic, antimalarial, analgesic, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, antiviral, gastroprotective, antileishmanial and anthelmentic [1].

Why is Swertia Chirayita Found in Bodybuidling Supplements?

Swertia chirayita can be found under “stimulant matrix” in supplements, however the plant is not a stimulant. Actually it is noted in the literature that bioactive constituents (xanthones) present in the Swertia chirayita show central nervous system (CNS) down regulation/depression [2,3]. In animals fed with various xanthones CNS depression was evident by ptosis, sedation, decreased spontaneous motor activity, loss of muscle tone, potentiation of pentobarbitone sleeping time [3]. Reversed CNS stimulating effects were also noted with swertiamarin (a secoiridoid glucoside from Swertia chirata) administration [4].

It is possible that antioxidant action of Swertia chirayita extract may be the reason why it can be found in all sorts of supplements [4].

Other Possible Benefits of Swertia Chirayita

Swerchirin, a xanotone found in Swertia chirayita, was reported to have significant blood sugar lowering effect (hypoglycemic) [6] and hepatoprotective effect [7,8]. Previously mentioned, swertiamarin was also reported to have significant antioxidant, hepatoprotective [7,8] and analgesic properties [2].

Swertia Chirayita Side Effects

It seems that Swertia chirata is safe when taken in the normal/small amounts typically found in beverages. However, it is not known if Swertia chirata is safe in larger amounts.



  1. Patil, Kalpana, Swati Dhande, and Vilasrao Kadam. “Therapeutic Swertia chirata-An Overview.” Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 5.4 (2013): 199-207.
  2. Tabassum, Sobia, et al. “An Overview of Medicinal Importance of Swertia Chirayita.” International Journal of Applied 2.1 (2012).
  3. Gopalakrishnan, C., et al. “Anti-inflammatory and CNS depressant activities of xanthones from Calophyllum inophyllum and Mesua ferrea.” Indian Journal of Pharmacology 12.3 (1980): 181.
  4. Bhattacharya, S. K., et al. “Chemical constituents of gentianaceae XIX: CNS‐depressant effects of swertiamarin.” Journal of pharmaceutical sciences 65.10 (1976): 1547-1549.
  5. Chen, Yue, et al. “In vitro and in vivo antioxidant effects of the ethanolic extract of Swertia chirayita.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 136.2 (2011): 309-315.
  6. Bajpai, Madhu Bala, et al. “Hypoglycemic effect of swerchirin from the hexane fraction of Swertia chirayita.” Planta medica 57.02 (1991): 102-104.
  7. Verma, Vinod Kumar, et al. “Comparison of hepatoprotective activity of Swertia chirayita and Andrographis paniculata plant of North–East India against CCl 4 induced hepatotoxic rats.” Journal of Pharmacy Research 7.7 (2013): 647-653.
  8. Jaishree, V., and Shrishailappa Badami. “Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effect of swertiamarin from Enicostemma axillare against d-galactosamine induced acute liver damage in rats.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 130.1 (2010): 103-106.