Family • Euphorbiaceae -Phyllanthus niruri Linn. - SEED-UNDER-LEAF - Ye xia zhu

Scientific names

Phyllanthus niruri Linn.
Phyllanthus carolinianus Blanco
Phyllanthus kirganelia Blanco
Ku wei ye xia zhu (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Zhu zi cao, Yue xia zhu, Be bei cai, Xiao fan hun, Ba be cai, Xiao fan hun
FRENCH: Quinine creole.
HINDI: Bhuiaonla.
PORTUGUESE: Quebrapedra.
SANSKRIT: Ajata, Amala, Bbumyamalaki, Sukshmadala, Vituntika.
SPANISH: Chanca piedra, Quinina criolla.

Common names

Kurukalunggai (Bik.)
Malakirum-kirum (S. L. Bis.)
Malakinum-kirum (Bis.)
Ngingihel (If.)
Sampasampalukan (Tag.)
San Pedro (P. Bis.)
Surusampalok (Bik.)
Talikod (Ilk.)
Taltalikod (Ilk.)
Turutalikod (Bik.)
Seed-under-leaf (Engl.)
Stone-breaker (Engl.)
Ye xia zhu (Chin.)

Gen info 
Chanca piedra is Spanish for “stone breaker,” used by indigenous peoples of the Amazon as an effective remedy for the treatment of gallstones and kidney stones.


Sampasampalukan is an erect, branching, slender, smooth herb growing 50 to 60 centimeters high. Leaves are small and oblong, alternate and often imbricated, oblong to elliptic-oblong, 5 to 8 millimeters long, rather pale beneath, and on very short stalks. Flowers are axillary and solitary, pale green or white, about 0.5 millimeter long. Capsules are smooth, rounded or somewhat flattened, 1.5 to 2 millimeters in diameter.


– A common roadside and garden weed throughout the Philippines.
– Now pantropic, probably introduced into the New World.

– Plant has yielded various phytochemicals: flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenoids, lignans, polyphenols, tannins, coumarins, and saponins.
– Plant yields phyllanthin, previously identified as pseudo-chiratan. It crystallizes in colorless needles or flakes, with an intensely bitter taste, almost insoluble in water but easily soluble in alcohol, petroleum ether, ether, chloroform, benzene, and glacial acetic acid.
– From the leaves, phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin, lignans niranthin, nirtetralin and phyltetralin.
– Plant yields a considerable amount of potash.

– Astringent, cholagogue, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, stomachic, laxative, obstruent.
– Considered antiviral, antilithiatic, anthelmintic.
– Bark is considered purgative.
– In Ayurvedic medicine, considered hepatoprotective, antiviral, antibacterial, analgesic, antispasmodic, and antidiabetic.
– Studies have showed anti-hepatotoxic, anti-lithic, anti-hypertensive, anti-HIV and anti-hepatitis B properties.
– Medicinal properties of Phyllanthus urinaria are the same as those of Phyllanthus niruri.

Parts used
Whole plant.

– Decoction of entire plant used as tonic for the stomach.
– Bitter fruit used for tubercular ulcers, wounds, sores, scabies, and ringworm.
– Used for kidney stones and gallstones.
– Fresh root used as remedy for jaundice.
– Used as emmenagogue and febrifuge.
– Also used for genitourinary problems: renal colic, cystitis, prostate problems, jaundice, constipation, dyspepsia, gonorrhea.
– Young leaves used for fevers.
– Chewing of fresh leaves used for hiccups.
– Used for baths in newborns.
– Decoction used for coughs in infants.
– Infusion of root and leaves used as tonic and cold, taken cold in repeated doses.
– In Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico, bitter decoction of leaves and roots used for intermittent fevers.
– Infusion of young shoots and leaves given for dysentery.
– Salted poultice of leaves used for scabby affections; without salt, applied to bruises and wounds; and made with rice water, poultice lessens edematous swellings and ulcers.
– As a Tamil galactagogue, root bruised with a little water and administered with milk.
– In Indo-China, used as diuretic, depurant, and antisyphilitic.
– In the Konkan rubbed down with rice-water and used as a remedy for menorrhagia.
– In La Reunion, used for blenorrhagia, dropsy, and diarrhea.
– In Haiti, decoction of roots and leaves used for stomachaches.
– In the Gold Coast and India, pounded leaves used for gonorrhea.
– In Sind, roots, leaves, and young shoots are much employed in gonorrhea and other genito-urinary affections.
– Bark used as purgative.
– Milky juice applied to offensive sores.
– In Unani medicine, used for sores and chronic dysentery; fruits used for tubercular ulcers, sores, scabies and ringworm.
– In Ayurveda, used for asthma, bronchitis, leprosy, anemia hiccups and as diuretic.
– In different parts of India, used for snake bites.
– In South America, used to treat excess uric acid.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) 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.

(2) Chanca Piedra / Phyllanthus niruri / Tropical Plant Database

(3) Phyllanthus niruri Inhibits Calcium Oxalate Endocytosis by Renal Tubular Cells: Its Role in Urolithiasis / Nephron JournVol. 81, No. 4, 1999

(4) The protein fraction of Phyllanthus niruri plays a protective role against acetaminophen induced hepatic disorder via its antioxidant properties / Phytotherapy research ISSN 0951-418X / 2006, vol. 20, no7, pp. 595-601

(5) Effects of an extract from P niruri on hepatitis B and woodchuck hepatitis viruses: In vitro and in vivo studies / P S Venkateswaran et al / Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA • Vol 84, pp 274-278, Jan 1987

(6) Effects of an aqueous extract from Phyllantus niruri on calcium oxalate crystallization in vitro / M E Barros et al / Urological Research • Vol 30 No 6, Feb 2003 / DOI 10.1007/s00240-002-0285-y

(7) Mechanisms of antihyperuricemic effect of Phyllanthus niruri and its lignan constituents / Vikneswaran Murugaiyah and Kit-Lam Chan / Journal of ethnopharmacology Volume: 124 • 2009 Jul /

(8) Acute toxicity studies of aqueous leaf extract of Phyllanthus niruri / George Awuku Asare, Phyllis Addo, Kwasi Bugyei, Ben Gyan, Samuel Adjei, Lydia Serwaa Otu-Nyarko, Edwin Kwame Wiredu, and Alexander Nyarko / Interdiscip Toxicol. 2011 December; 4(4): 206–210 / doi: 10.2478/v10102-011-0031-9

(9) Effects of alkaloidal extract of Phyllanthus niruri on HIV replication. / AD Naik, AR Juvekar / Indian Journal of Medical Sciences, 2003, Vol 57. No 9, Pp 387-93.

(10) Antifertility Effects of Aqueous Extract of Phyllanthus Niruri in Male Albino Rats / VALENTINE U. EZEONWU /
2011, VOL. 3 NO. 09 | PG. 1/1

(11) Evaluation of antidiabetic potentials of Phyllanthus niruri in alloxan diabetic rats / Okoli, C. O., Ibiam, A. F., Ezike, A. C.*, Akah, P. A. and Okoye, T. C. / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 9 (2), pp. 248-259, 11 January, 2010

(12) Methanol extract of Phyllanthus niruri attenuates chlorpyrifos-evoked erythrocyte fragility and lipoperoxidative changes in wistar rats / Suleiman F. Ambali, Stephen A. Adeniyi, Annas O. Makinde, Mufta’u Shittu and Lukuman S. Yaqub / Archives of Applied Science Research, 2010, 2 (4): 191-198

(13) Effect of Phyllanthus niruri Linn. treatment on liver, kidney and testes in CCl4 induced hepatotoxic rats / A P Manjrekar, V Jisha, P Bag, B Adhikary, M Pai, A hegde and M Nandini / Indian Journ of Experimental Biology, Vol 46, July 2008, pp 514-520.

(14) Protective Role of Phyllanthus niruri Extract against Thioacetamide-Induced Liver Cirrhosis in Rat Model / Zahra A. Amin, Mehmet Bilgen, Mohammed A. Alshawsh, Hapipah M. Ali, A. Hamid A. Hadi, and Mahmood A. Abdulla / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012 (2012) / doi:10.1155/2012/241583



(17) Symptomatic treatment of acute tonsillo-pharyngitis patients with a combination of Nigella sativa and Phyllanthus niruri extract. / M Dirjomuljono, I Kristyono, R R Tjandrawinata, D Nofiarny / Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jun;46(6):295-306. PMID: 18541126

(18) INVESTIGATION OF ANALGESIC AND ANTI-PYRETIC POTENTIALS OF PHYLLANTHUS NIRURI PLANT EXTRACTS / Akila Elias*, S. Ravichandran, S. L. Neethu, S. Sumithra, S. Safeera, M. Venkadesh / Asian Journal of Phytomedicine and Clinical Research. 2(2), 2014, 91 – 95.


(20) Wound Healing Potential of Phyllanthus niruri Leaf Extract in Experimental Rats / Khaled Abdul-Aziz Ahmed, Mahmood Ameen Abdulla and Fahmi Mustafa Mahmoud / Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 11 (11): 1614-1618, 2012 / DOI: 10.5829/idosi.mejsr.2012.11.11.1590

(21) Anti cataract potential of phyllanthus niruri in galactose induced cataractogenesis of rat / Suresh Kumar Gupta, Vivekanandhan Kalaiselvan, Ashish Sharma, Sushma Srivastava, Shyam Sunder Agrawal / Int J. Ophthalmol, Vol 2, No 4, Dec 18, 2009

(22) Antimetastatic Effects of Phyllanthus on Human Lung (A549) and Breast (MCF-7) Cancer Cell Lines /
Sau Har Lee, Indu Bala Jaganath, Seok Mui Wang, Shamala Devi Sekaran / PLoS ONE 6(6): e20994. / DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.002099

– Dye: In India, decoction of leaves and stem used for dyeing cotton black.
– Fish poison: From the phyllanthin, plant is used as fish poison.

Study Findings
• Antiviral / Anti-Hepatitis B: Studies of extracts have shown marked anti-hepatitis B surface antigen activity possibly through inhibition of viral genetic material. (2) A study reports P niruri has profound effects in vitro on HBsAg, on woodchuck hepatitis virus surface antigen (WHsAg) and on the DNAp of both viruses and in vivo on the replication of WHV (woodstock hepatitis virus) and in some controlled studies, it appeared to eliminate WHV from carriers.
• Hypolipidemic: Studies have demonstrated lipid-lowering effects in triton and cholesterol fed hyperlipidemic rats
• Anti-diabetic: Studies have shown potential anti-diabetic action of PN. Study of aqueous extract of the plant yielded alkaloids, flavonoids and saponins. Administration of aqueous extracts in mice showed a significant decrease in blood glucose with a significant effect in controlling the loss of body weight. Results showed a hypoglycemic effect in diabetic rats with no evidence of hepatotoxicity.
• Anti-malarial: Extract studies of Pyllanthus niruri showed inhibitory activity of Plasmodium falcifarum.
• Analgesic: Methanolic extract showed nociceptive effects.
• Calculi dissolution: Although test did not show prevention of further growth, PN modified the shape and texture of the stone into a more fragile form which may help in elimination and dissolution.
• Platelet Aggregation Inhibition: Methyl brevifolincarboxylate, isolated from PN, was found to have inhibitory effects on platelet aggregation.
• Hepatoprotective / Nimesulide Induced Toxicity: Study showed PN to possess hepatoprotective activity against nimesulide-induced liver toxicity, probably through an antioxidant defense mechanism. Another study demonstrated a protein fraction of PN to be protective against acetaminophen hepatotoxicity by increasing antioxidative defense.
• Calcium Oxalate Cyrstal Growth and Aggregation Inhibition: Study showed an inhibitory effect of P niruri extract on CaOx crystal growth and aggregation in human urine, suggesting an interference with the early stages of stone formation and presents an alternative form of treatment and / or prevention of urolithiasis.
• Antihyperuricemic Effect: Study showed the methanol extract of P niruri and its lignans were able to reverse the plasma uric acid of hyperuricemic animals. The effect could be through its uricosuric action and partly through xanthine oxidase inhibition. The antihyperuricemic effect of the lignans was attributed to their uricosuric action. A methanol extract of leaves showed dose-dependent oral antihyperuricemic activity in potassium oxonate- and uric acid-induced hyperuricemic rats.
• Acute Toxicity Study / Leaf Extract Effect: Study of aqueous leaf extract was done in female Sprague-Dawley rats to illicit evidence of toxicity. No toxicity was observed at various levels of testing. The LD50 of the aqueous extract is >5000 mg/KBW.
• Effects of HIV Replication: P. niruri has shown marked inhibitory effect on hepatitis B virus. Study investigated the anti-HIV effects of an alkaloidal extract of P. niruri in human cell lines. Results showed the extract exhibited a sensitive inhibitory response on cytopathic effects induced by strains of HIV on human MT-4 cells in the tested concentrations.
• Antihyperuricemic / Lignans / Phyllanthin: A methanol extract of leaves showed dose-dependent oral antihyperuricemic activity in potassium oxonate- and uric acid-induced hyperiuricemic rats. Fraction purification yielded four lignans — phyllanthin, hypophyllanthin, phyltetralin and niranthin. Phyllanthin showed the highest dose-dependent antihyperuricemic effect.
• Antifertility: Study of aqueous extract of Phyllanthus niruri in Male albino rats showed dose-dependent antifertility effects, with reduction in fructose level of the seminal fluid, decreased sperm motility, sperm count and sperm viability.
• Gastroprotective: Study was done for gastroprotective activity of P. niruri leaf extract against ethanol-induced gastric mucosal injury in Wistar rats. Results showed promotion of ulcer protection with comparative decreases in ulcer areas, inhibition or reduction of edema and leukocyte infiltration of the submucosa.
• Anti-Tumor / Chemopreventive / DMBA-Induced Papillomagenesis: Study in male Swiss albino mice evaluated the anti-tumor activity of a hydro-alcoholic extract of whole plant on two stage process of skin carcinogenesis induced by topical application of DMBA. Results showed significant anti-tumor activity, with significant reduction in tumor incidence, tumor yield, tumor burden and cumulative number of papillomas.
• Antidiabetic: Study evaluated the antidiabetic potential of methanol extract of aerial parts in normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Results showed dose related reduction of fasting blood sugar with suppression of postprandial rise of sugar after a heavy glucose meal in normoglycemic rats. Results suggest the extract of aerial parts has great potential as anti-diabetic remedy.
• Attenuation of Chlorpyrifos-evoked Erythrocyte Fragility and Lipoperoxidative Changes: Study of methanolic extract in Wistar rats showed protective effect from CPF-induced increased in erythrocyte fragility and lipoperoxidative changes, probably due to its flavonoid contents’ antioxidant activity.
• Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective / Kidney and Testes Effects: Study evaluated the effects of aqueous extracts of P. niruri on liver, kidney, and testes of CCl4-induced hepatotoxic rats. Results showed P. niruri has antioxidant and hepatoprotective activity associated with deleterious effects on kidney and testes.
• Diuretic: An aqueous extract was studied for diuretic activity in albino rats. Results showed significant increase in volume of urine and excretion of sodium, potassium and chloride.
• Hepatoprotective Against Thioacetamide-Induced Liver Cirrhosis: Study evaluated the protective role of PN extract against liver cirrhosis induced by TAA in rats. Results showed progression of liver cirrhosis induced by TAA in rats can be intervened using the P. niruri extract, with effects comparable to silymarin.
• Hepatoprotective Against Alcohol and Other Hepatotoxicants: Study showed a hepatoprotective effect against alcohol and several hepatotoxicants. PN can potentially inhibit the transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNFa) produced by kupffer cells. The hepatoprotective effect is attributed to bioactive compounds such as lignans, alkaloids, terpenoids,and tannins, especially phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin, quercetrin, astragalin, gallic acid, elagic acid and corilagin.
• Antimicrobial: Extracts of leaf, stem, root, and fruit were evaluated for antimicrobial activity. Ethanol, water, n-butanol extracts of leaf, stem and fruit parts were found to be effective against most of the human pathogenic microorganisms.
• Anti-Lithiatic / Leaves: In vitro study evaluated various extract for anti-urolithiatic effect with two standard drugs, Neeri and Cystone as control. Results showed the water extract of leaves to have anti-urolithiatic effect, equal to cystone in dissolving the exiting calcium oxalate crystals. A methanol extract was second in anti-lithiatic activity.
• NSPN in Acute Tonsillopharyngitis: A comparative, parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the clinical effectiveness of NPSN extract containing Nigella sativa and Phyllanthus niruri extracts. Study found the NSPN to be safe and well tolerated in acute tonsillopharyngitis patients, with significant benefits as compared to placebo.
• Analgesic / Antipyretic: Study evaluated aqueous and ethanolic extracts of P. niruri for analgesic and antipyretic effect using the Tail Immersion Model and Brewer’s Yeast Induced Pyrexia Model respectively. The extracts showed better analgesic and anti-pyretic potential when compared to standard drugs.
• Lipid Lowering: Study showed break-stone herb extract significantly lowered lipid levels of VLDL and LDL in experimental cholesterol-fed hyperlipemic rats.
• Antibacterial: Study evaluated various extracts of whole plant, stem, leaf, roots of P. niruri for antibacterial activity against six pathogenic organisms viz. K. pneumonia, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, S. typhi, and P. mirabilis. Results showed significant antibacterial properties. The whole plant extract showed the most activity against the test bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus was the most susceptible to the ethanolic extracts.
• Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the would healing activity of P. niruri leaves extract in experimentally wounded adult male Sprague Dawley rats. Results showed dressing with Phyllanthus niruri extracts, as topical application on wounds, enhanced wound healing process significantly.
• Anti-Cataract Potential / Galactose Induced Cataractogenesis: Study evaluated the anti-cataract effect of phyllanthus niruri both in vivo and in vitro galactose induced cataract. PN significantly delayed the onset and progression of cataract in vivo. Lenses treated with PN 880 µg/mL concentration showed higher levels of glutathione (GSH) and decreased levels of polyols in vitro.

Tablets, capsules, extracts in the cybermarket.