Sunday, September 16, 2012

How Strong Is Your Liver? Part 3

Dukung Anak (Phyllanthus niruri and related species P. amarus P. urinaria)

This is an important traditional remedy of Asia for the treatment of gastric complaints including dyspepsia, colic, diarrhea, dysentery as well as jaundice and hepatitis.

Plant Part Used: Whole herb.

Modern Research

Treatment of Hepatitis B

Phyllanthus niruri has generated a lot of interest in recent years following a publication in the Lancet Medical Journal in 1988 (1).

A summary of the findings were as follows:

 Dose was 600mg/ day of leaf.

 Study was on carriers of hepatitis B virus.

 59% of 37 treated subjects compared to only 4% of placebo subjects had lost Hepatitis B surface antigen, (HBsAg) by the first follow up visit (15 to 20 days).

 Up to nine months later HBsAg had not returned for these subjects.

 There were no significant side effects.

Further clinical and laboratory trials showed that Phyllanthus inhibits hepatitis B virus (HBV) and binds to its surface antigen (6). The hepatitis B virus requires DNA polymerase for its replication, and the action of Phyllanthus in inhibiting this enzyme appears to be specific to HBV-like viruses. While the majority of studies
showed positive effects for carriers of hepatitis B, some were not successful (3), and this has been linked to differences in dosage and variations in plant chemistry between the species found globally.

Anti-viral effects

The antiviral effects of Phyllanthus have been demonstrated in several further studies. Aqueous extract of Phyllanthus inhibited human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reverse transcriptase in vitro. The component responsible for the inhibition was identified as repandusinic acid A. (7). Recent research in 1999 has shown
that seven ellagitannins isolated from Phyllanthus are also active against Epstein-Barr virus DNA polymerase (EBV-DP) (14). In children with jaundice due to viral hepatitis, a dose of 50mg/kg also caused rapid improvement in most cases (10). The lignan constituents have been shown to demonstrate a hepatoprotective activity for in vitro tests. (2)

Other uses

A study conducted in India on 9 patients with hypertension, four of whom were also diabetics, revealed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure and blood glucose was experienced in the treated group. Clinical observations revealed no harmful side effects. These observations indicate that P. amarus is a potential diuretic, hypotensive and hypoglycaemic drug for humans.

Medicinal Uses of Phyllanthus

♦ Viral liver diseases, including acute hepatitis and chronic persistent hepatitis.

As part of the treatment for chronic active hepatitis.

♦ Possibly other viral diseases.

♦ May have a support role in hypertension and diabetes.


1. Thyagarajan, S P et al: Lancet 2, 764 (1988)
2. Syamasundar, K V et al: J Ethnopharmacology 14, 41 (1985)
3. Milne, A et al: New Zeal Med 107, 243 (1994)
4. Bagchi, G D et al: Int J Pharmacog 30, 161 (1992)
5. Thyagarajan, S P et al: Indian J Med Res 76, 124 (1982)
6. Venkateswaran, P S et al: Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 84, 274 (1987)
7. Ogata, T et al: AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 8, 1937 (1992)
8. Umarani, D et al: Ancient Sci Life 4, 174 (1985)
9. Higashino, H et al: Nippon Yakurigaku Zasshi 100, 415 (1992)
10. Dixit, S P and Achar, M P: J Natl Integ Med Assoc 25 (8), 269 (1983)
11. Nadkarni, K M Indian Materia Medica, Pg.947.
12. Medicinal Plants of India ICMR, Vol-2, Pg.405 (1987)
13. Liu KC et al, Antiviral tannins from two Phyllanthus species. Planta Med 1999 Feb;65(1):43-6
14. Srividya N, Periwal S, Diuretic, hypotensive and hypoglycaemic effect of Phyllanthus amarus. Indian J Exp Biol 1995 Nov;33(11):861-4

 ....... will be continued

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