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The annual herb Phyllanthus niruri is best known by the common names Stonebreaker. It is a widespread tropical plant commonly found in coastal areas. It is a relative of the spurges, belonging to the leaf flower genus of family Phyllanthaceae. It is commonly known as bhoomi amalaki and stone breaker. It is a small, erect, annual herb that grows 50 to 60 cm in height. It is indigenous to the rainforests of the Amazon and other tropical areas throughout the world, including the Bahamas, southern India and China. It grows and spread freely much like a weed.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Phyllanthus niruri
Indian Names
Hindi : Jar amla, Jangli amla English : Niruri Sanskrit : Bhumyamlaki Bengali : Bhuinamla Tamil : Kizhanelli Kannada : Nela nelli Malayalam : Keelar nelli Telugu : Nela usiri
Chemical Constituents
Phyllanthus niruri is a rich source of phytochemicals. Many of the “active” constituents are attributed to biologically active lignans, glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, ellagitannins, and phenylpropanoids found in the leaf, stem, and root of the plant. Phytochemical studies of P. niruri have led to the isolation of several constituents some of which have also been shown to be pharmacologically active. These include the alkaloids- 4-methoxy-securinine (Phyllanthine) and 4- methoxy-nor-securinine, arabinogalactan which stimulates superoxide anion production, ellagic acid, brevifolin carboxylic acid and ethyl brevifolin carboxylate with aldose reductase inhibitory effect, 1-O-galloyl-6-O-luteoylalpha- d-glucose with anti-babesial and antiplasmodial activities, beta-glucogallin, quercetin 3-O-beta-d-glucopyranosyl-(2-1)-O-beta-d-xylopyranoside, beta sitosterol, gallic acid, the lignans- phyllanthin, hypophyllanthin, phyltetralin with antihyperuricemic and antihepatotoxic effects cubebin dimethyl ether, urinatetralin, niranthin, methyl brevifolincarboxylate .
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs hence it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health
Phyllanthus niruri is used for many purposes in herbal medicine systems. In clinical research over the years, the plant has demonstrated anti-hepatotoxic, antilithic means which is tending to prevent the formation of urinary calculi, or to destroy them when formed, analgesic, hypotensive, antispasmodic, antiviral, antibacterial, diuretic, anti-mutagenic, hypoglycemic, hepato protective and hypocholesterolemic activities. Clinical study has been demonstrated the in vivo chemo preventive efficacy of extract during the pre-initiation and during the tumor promotion stage and determining the mechanistic role that biotransformation system enzymes may have in modulation of skin papillomagenesis pattern (2). Phyllanthus niruri is a useful medicinal weed for herbalist and it holds a reputed position in both Ayurvedic and Unani system of medicine. Phyllanthus niruri primarily contains lignans, phyllanthus which blocks DNA polymerase, an enzyme needed for the hepatitis B virus to reproduce. It has been found to inhibit DNA polymerase of HBV and binds to HbsAg, in vitro. Thus it can be used to inhibit Hepatitis B virus (3, 4). Results of clinical studies also suggest that extract of aerial parts of P. niruri has great potentials as anti-diabetic remedy.
Health Benefits
Phyllanthus niruri has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2,000 years and has been used in wide number of traditional ailments such as jaundice, gonorrhea, diabetes and topically as a poultice for skin ulcers, sores, swelling, and itchiness. The plant has a role in liver disorders due to its febrifuge, antiseptic, astringent, stomachic, deobstruent and diuretic actions. The herb Phyllanthus niruri is used widely for the treatment of jaundice. Researchers also reported antimalarial activity of P. niruri in vivo. In addition this plant is used in traditional medicine for treatment of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders (6). It corrects GIT troubles like dyspepsia, colic, diarrhea and dysentery and tones the GIT tract back to function. The young shoots of the plant are administered in the form of an infusion for the treatment of chronic dysentery.
Research References
1. Investigations on the Chemical Constituents from Phyllanthus Niruri L. Olysaccharide from Sedum Sarmentosum Bunge 2. Priyanka S., Jyoti P., Preeti V., Priyanka S. and P.K.Goyal Chemopreventive effect ofPhyllanthus niruri on DMBA induced skin Papillomagenesis in swiss albino mice Int J Biol Med Res. 2010; 1(4):158-164 3. P. S. VENKATESWARAN, I. MILLMAN AND B. S. BLUMBERG Effects of an extract from Phyllanthus niruri on hepatitis B and woodchuck hepatitis viruses: In vitro and in vivo studies Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. Medical Sciences 1987, USA 84:274-278 4. Naik AD, Juvekar AR. Effects of alkaloidal extract of Phyllanthus niruri on HIV replication. Indian J Med Sci 57:387 5. Okoli C. O., Ibiam A. F., Ezike A. C., Akah P. A. and Okoye T. C. Evaluation of antidiabetic potentials of Phyllanthus niruri in alloxan diabetic rats African Journal of Biotechnology 2010, 9(2):248-259 6. Mary C. and Parames C. S. PROTECTIVE ROLE OF PHYLLANTHUS NIRURI AGAINST NIMESULIDE INDUCED HEPATIC DAMAGE Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 2007 / 22 (1):109-116