Vol. 6, Issue 1 (2017)
Comparative morphological studies of some Swertia species
Author(s): Aruna Mehta, Ravinder Raina, Romesh Chand Rana and Yash Pal Sharma
Abstract: Swertia chirayita (family Gentianaceae), source of important Indian Ayurvedic drug “chirata’’, is an imperative medicinal plant in Indian system of medicine known for its potent activity against malaria, liver-disorder, fever, gastrointestinal infection and diabetes. However, due to its high demand and scarcity, it is being frequently adulterated with other species of Swertia which are more readily available. Presently almost all the similar looking species of Swertia are marketed as ‘chirata’ without any rationale which is affecting the potency of the drug. These substitutes need to be identified through quick test for which a key of morphological characteristics has been prepared. Present studies focused on evaluating Swertia chirayita along with its four common adulterants by comparison of their morphological characteristics to distinguish genuine chirata from its adulterants. The study revealed the major distinguishing character amongst all the five Swertia species was based on difference in floral features, stem type and leaf shape.