Kalmegh (Chirata) is a popular ayurvedic herb that is chiefly found growing in the sub-temperate regions of the Himalayas ranging from India to Bhutan, known for its characteristic bitter taste. It usually has a height of 3-4 feet and has greenish-yellow flowers with a purplish tinge. This bitter-tasting herb is known by different names in different parts of the world including Bitter stick, East Indian Balmony, Genciana de la India, Gentiana chirata, Chirette des Indes, Indian Bolonong, Indian Gentian, Swertia chirata, Swertia chirayita. In the Indian subcontinent, this herb goes by the names Kirataka, Kiratatiktaka, Chirta, Chirata, Chireta, Kariyatu, Kaddi, Chirayat, Chiraita, Nelaveppu, Nelavemu, Kariyatun, Nalebevu, Bhunimba, Chirata, Kirayathu, Nilamakanjiram, Kiraita, Kaduchiraita, Chireita, Chiretta, Kirata.
Chirata is power-packed with a number of ingredients that portrays its incredible health benefits. This bitter herb is imbued with antioxidants, alkaloids and glycosides like palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, chiratanin, chiratol, gentiopicrin, xanthones, swertiamarin, amarogentin, swertanone, swerchirin and certain other compounds. Imbued with powerful antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, vermicidal, hepatoprotective, laxative, hypoglycaemic, digestive, and cholagogue properties, chirata is extensively used for combatting against various infections, promoting liver functions, enhancing appetite, boosting digestion, improving metabolism, helping in skin diseases, facilitating weight loss and more.