Family • Euphorbiaceae - Phyllanthus simplex Retz. - SEED-UNDER-LEAF - Xi ye you shou

Scientific names

Phyllanthus simplex Retz.
Phyllanthus virgatus G. Forst.
Phyllanthus simplex var. Retz. var virgatus (G. Forst.)

Common names

Kaya-an (Bag.)
Kayut-bulang (Bag.)
Seed-under-leaf (Engl.)
Xi ye you shu (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Huang zhu zi cao.
HINDI: Bhui aonla.
NEPALESE: Bhuii amalaa (P. virgatus)

Kaya-an is a slender, erect, simple or slightly branched, smooth, annual herb, 20 to 50 centimeters in height. Stems are flattened, and usually purplish. Leaves are two-ranked, oblong-linear, 1.5 to 3 centimeters long, and 6 to 9 centimeters wide. Flowers are very small, solitary, and borne on the axils of the leaves. Capsules are smooth, depressed-globose, and 3 to 3.5 millimeters in diameter.


– Common throughout the Philippines, in open grasslands, fallow rice lands, etc., at low and medium altitudes.
– Also occurs in India to southern China, Malaya, and Polynesia.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Phytochemical analysis, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of Phyllanthus simplex / Chouhan H S, Singh S K / J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Oct 11;137(3):1337-44. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

(2) Studies on Chemical Contituents and Antibacterial Activities of Phyllanthus Simplex Retz / China Papers /

(3) Anthelmintic screening of various crude extracts of Phyllanthus simplex Retz / Arasan Elayaraja, M Vijayalakshmi, and Devalarao Garikapati / Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, October – December 2010 RJPBCS

(4) Anti-HBV Effect of Phyllanthus Simplex Extracts in Vivo and in Vitro / HUANG Zhengchang, DENG Xuelong, ZHU Yutong et al / JOURNAL OF GUANGZHOU UNIVERSITY OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE, 2000-03 / DOI: cnki:ISSN:44-1425.0.2000-03-022

(5) Sorting Phyllanthus names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(6) Chemical composition in the leaves of Phyllanthus simplex Retz. / Han Shu; Zhang Yun; Wang JunRu /
Journal Medicinal Plant 2012 Vol. 3 No. 3 pp. 21-22, 25

(7) Antioxidant and α-Amylase Inhibitory Property of Phyllanthus virgatus L.: An In Vitro and Molecular Interaction Study / Arshya Hashim, M. Salman Khan, Mohd. Sajid Khan, Mohd. Hassan Baig, and Saheem Ahmad / BioMed Research International, Vol 2013 (2013) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/729393

(8) Cell death and impairment of mitochondrial functions induced by Phyllanthus virgatus: a comparison study / N Chudapongse, M Kamkhunthod, K Poompachee / lanta Med 2009; 75 – PE14 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1234575

(9) Protective effect of Phyllanthus virgatus extract on Cd2+-induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential / Nuannoi Chudapongse , Matcha Kamkhunthod and Kanchana Poompachee / The FASEB Journal, 2007′ 21:lb367

– Phytochemical screening yielded an abundance of phenolics, tannins and flavonoids.
– Leaf yielded phenolics, tannins, flavonoids, sugars, saponins, amino acids, volatile oil.
– Study of chemical composition of leaves yielded four compounds: vanillin, β-daucossterol, β-sitosterol and rutin.

– Studies have shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties.

Parts used
Leaves, flowers, seeds.

– Hindus use equal parts of the fresh leaves, flowers, and fruit, and cumin seeds with sugar, made into an electuary for the cure of gonorrhea – a teaspoon is given twice daily.
– Bruised fresh leaves, mixed with buttermilk, used as a wash to cure itches in children.
– In Thailand, used for liver ailments.
– In Chota Nagpur, roots is used as external application for mammary abscesses.


Study Findings
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Phenolic Contents: P. simplex ether extract showed significant concentration-dependent scavenging of DPPH, hydorxyl and superoxide radicals. It also showed significant inhibition of NO production and significant inhibition of carragennan-induced paw edema. Results show significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities which was attributed to its high phenolic content.
• Anti-Diabetic / Antioxidant: Study of MeOH and aqueous fractions of PS demonstrated significant antioxidant and antidiabetic potential and suggest therapeutic value in diabetes and related complications.
• Anti-Cancer / Antioxidant / Roots and Rhizomes: Study of ethyl acetate and ethanolic extracts from the roots and rhizomes of P. simplex against DAL and EAC cell lines showed significant anti-cancer activity, with the alcoholic extract showing more cancer dead cells than the EA extract.
• Antihelmintic: Study showed the ethanolic extract was more potent than other extracts against Indian round worm Pheretima posthuma. The comparison drug was piperazine citrate.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Ethanolic and acetone extracts from the whole plant showed significant activity at the doses of 400 mg/K with inhibition of both acute and sub-acute anti-inflammatory models.
• Anti-HBV Effect: Study showed the water and alcohol extract of P. simplex had an inhibitory effect on the HBsAg.
• Antioxidant / α-Amylase Inhibitory Property: A methanol extract of P. virgatus exhibited strong antioxidant and oxidative DNA damage protective activity, correlating with its phenolic content. Also, the ME strongly inhibited the α-amylase activity. Results provide basis for the potential future use for the treatment and management of diabetes as well as related conditions of oxidative stress.
• Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity / Mitochondrial Effect: In a comprative study of three Phyllanthus species, the methanolic extract of P. virgatus showed the highest free radical scavenging activity and highest inhibition of peroxidation. Also, the extract showed the strongest cytotoxic effect to human hepatoma HepG2 cells. The extract impaired hepatic energy metabolism by acting as mitochondrial uncoupler and inhibitor of oxidative phosphorylation. The mitochondrial effects may be intimately involved in the cytotoxic action on HepG2 cells.
• Hepatoprotective / Cd2+-Induced Loss of Mitochondrial Membrane Potential: A methanol extract of P. virgatus was shown to block the collapse of mitrochondrial transmembrane potential induced by CdCl2 in a dose-dependent manner. Results postulate the extract may act by blocking Ca2+ uniporter to impeded Cd2+ influx ito the mitochondria and/or by inhibiting Cd2+-induced PTP opening.