History and Use
A Precious Kampung Herb (Village Herb)
Phyllanthus niruri is traditionally used by Malays to treat jaundice.
It is known as Pokok Dukung Anak.
It is considered a precious kampung (village) herb because it
is traditional use by the villagers and its habitat, as it is
commonly found along the roadside and village courtyards.
Phyllanthus is also widely used in India and China as liver protective
agent and anti-hepatitis B agent. Phyllanthus has been used in
Ayurvedic medicine in every tropical country where it grows for
over 2,000 years.
Biological Activities And Clinical Research
The liver-protecting activity of phyllanthus has been established
with clinical research with animals and humans.
The researchers who reported the cholesterol-lowering effects
also reported that phyllanthus protected rats from liver damage
induced by alcohol, and normalized a "fatty liver".
In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that extracts of phyllanthus
effectively protect against liver damage from various chemical
Some human studies also reported phyllanthus liver protective
and detoxifying actions in children with hepatitis and jaundice.
Indian researchers reported that phyllanthus was an effective
drug in the treatment of jaundice in children.
British researchers reported that children treated with a phyllanthus
extract for acute hepatitis had liver function return to normal
within few days.
Researchers in China also reported liver protective actions when
phyllanthus was given to adults with chronic hepatitis. A recent
(May 2004) study has
shown that the combination of Phyllanthus compound and
lamivudine exerts a better effect in treating chronic
hepatitis B and is capable of reducing YMDD mutation, delaying
the occurrence of lamivudine-resistance virus and prevent continuous
in vivo replication of hepatitis B virus.
An other study (2000) has documented that phyllanthus increased
the lifetime of mice with liver cancer from 33 weeks to 52 weeks.
Another research group tried to induce liver cancer in mice that
had been pre-treated with a water extract of phyllanthus. Their
results indicated that the phyllanthus extract dose-dependently
lowered tumor incidence, levels of carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes,
levels of liver cancer markers (YMDD), and liver injury markers
Both studies indicate that Phyllanthus has a
better ability to prevent and slow down the growth of tumors rather
than a direct toxic effect or ability to kill cancer cells.