Sunita Upadhyay* and Megha Jaiswal
The Uttarakhand state harbours a large number of medicinal plants, which falls within the western Himalayas. This region is known for its diverse and rich floristic wealth. Swertia belongs to the family Gentianaceae. Gentianaceae has been reported to have fourteen genera and forty five species. Out of these, 15 are of Swertia genus found growing in Kumaun Himalayan region at an altitude of 2,000 – 17,500 ft. These species are Swertia chirata Buch-ham, S.allata Buch- ham, S. Peniculate Wall, S. Putchalla Buch-ham, S. angustifollia Buch-ham, S.chordata Royle, S. cuneata Wall, S.Luride Royle, S. tetragona, Clarke. Among all these S.chirata is an important Ayurvedic herband an important ingredientof different herbal medicines. It is also used as a bitter tonic. Recently the hexane extract of this plant has been reported to possess hypoglycaemic activity.
Chemical investigation showed the presence of Xanthones, triterpenoids, flavonoids, Steroids, Sugars and alkaloids in the different species of genus Swertia. S.allata is an important ingredient of Tibetian medicine. The Swertia chirata is a therapeutic plant and its remedial usage has been recognized in the Indian Pharmaceutical codex as well as the British and American Pharmacopoeias. In addition, the curative value of the herb has also been recorded by the ancient Indian herbal medicine system Ayurveda and the otherconventional medical systems.
Keywords: Swertia, Phytoconstituents, Xanthones, Extraction, bioactivity.