Chirata. - Synonym. - Chiretta. The entire plant, Swertia Chirata Hamilton (nat. ord. Gentianeae).

Habitat

Mountains of Northern India.

Characters

Root nearly simple, about 7 cm. long; stem branched, nearly I meter long, slightly quadrangular above; containing a narrow wood-circle and a large yellowish pith. Leaves opposite, sessile, ovate, entire five-nerved. Flowers numerous, small, with a four-lobed calyx and corolla. The whole plant smooth, pale brown, inodorous, and intensely bitter. Resembling Chirata. - Lobelia, which is not bitter.

Composition

The chief constituents are - (1) Chiratin, C26H48O15, an active, bitter principle, as a yellow, hygroscopic powder. (2) Ophelic Acid, C13H20O11 with which it is combined. No Tannic Acid is present.

Dose, 1/2 to 1 dr.; 2. to 4. gm.

Preparations

1. Extractum Chiratae Fluidum. - Fluid Extract of Chirata. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol and Water, and evaporation. Dose, 1/2 to 1 fl. dr.; 2. to 4. c.c.

a. Tinctura Chiratae. - Tincture of Chirata. Chirata, 100; by maceration and percolation with Alcohol and Water to 1000. Dose, 1/2 to 2 fl. dr.; 2. to 8. c.c.

Action And Therapeutics Of Chirata

Chirata has the same actions and uses as gentian, calumba and other bitters. As it contains no tannic acid, it can be given with iron. It is more frequently used in India.