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 liver toxins.
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 (AST, ALT).

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.


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