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Phyllanthus niruri


Phyllanthus niruri


No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Phyllanthus, Stonebreaker, Chanca piedra, Quebra pedra, Meniran.


Phyllanthus niruri is an annual herb that grows up to  measures 50 cm tall.  There is confusion in the identification of each specific species though most are similar.  It has a smooth bark on the ascending branches, produces small flowers and tiny smooth fruits that are filled with seeds.  The plant is considered a weed and is very prolific.

Origin / Habitat

P.niruri grows like a weed in most tropical areas of the world.  It is native to China, India and South/Central America. It thrives in wet rainforest conditions and spreads rapidly.

Chemical Constituents

Lignans, glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, ellagitannins, phenylpropanoids, arabinogalactan [1][2]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant.

Traditional Use

The name P. niruri translates to ‘stone-breaker’.  This refers to the plant’s traditional use for treating kidney and gall stones.  This use is common in all tropical areas of the world where the plant is found and where traditional medicine is practiced.  Other conditions used by indigenous people of the Amazon include malaria, dysentery, diabetes, liver disorders and some digestive disorders.  In some areas it has been used as an abortifacient and to stimulate menstruation [3][4].



To support its traditional uses for kidney stones, P. niruri has been found to decrease calcium oxalate crystallization in human and laboratory studies [5][6][7].  A laboratory study reported that the antihyperuricemic effect of P. niruri extract may be mainly due to its uricosuric action and partly through xanthine oxidase inhibition [8]. A human study of 150 patients undergoing lithotripsy for renal stones found that administration of  P. niruri extract (2gm daily for 3 months) resulted in an increased stone-free rate that appears statistically significant for lower caliceal location [9]. The authors concluded that administration of P. niruri after extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for lower pole stones significantly improved overall outcomes.

Laboratory studies of P. niruri have been found the extract to have anti-oxidant and hepatoprotective activity [10] [11].An animal study found an extract of P. niruri was more effective than vitamin E as an anti-oxidant and more effective at suppressing oxidative damage to the liver [12].Another laboratory study found that P. niruri increased the anti-oxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione-S-transferase (GST) levels in acetaminophen induced hepatic disorders [13].

In laboratory studies, extracts of P. niruri was found to decrease the replication and binding of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) [14] [15].Teas made from P. niruri are reported to improve immune function, mainly due to the arabinogalactan component in aqueous extracts [16].

A laboratory animal study found that an extract of P. niruri had lipid lowering activity, mediated through inhibition of hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis, increased faecal bile acids excretion and enhanced plasma lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase activity [17].

Extracts of P. niruri have been reported to have antimalarial activity in laboratory studies, supporting its traditional uses for malaria [18].


No documentation.

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

Based on pharmacology, use with caution in individuals taking anticoagulant medications, including aspirin and warfarin (Coumadin).

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

P. niruri has been reported safe in recommended doses.

Discontinue if allergy occurs.

Based on laboratory studies, P. niruri has been reported to inhibit platelet aggregation. P. niruri  should  be used with caution in individuals with bleeding disorders [20].


Other species of P. niruri have been reported to have uterine relaxing properties in laboratory studies, so use in pregnancy should be with caution [19].

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

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  1)  Western Herbs


  1. Colombo R, de L Batista AN, Teles HL, et al. Validated HPLC method for the standardization of Phyllanthus niruri (herb and commercial extracts) using corilagins a phytochemical marker. Biomed Chromatogr. Jun 2009;23(6):573-580.
  2. Bagalkotkar G. Phytochemicals from Phyllanthus niruri Linn. and their pharmacological properties: a review. J Pharm Pharmacol. Dec2006;58(12):1559-1570.
  3. Taylor L. The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:  A Guide to Understanding and Using Herbal Medicinals. NY:Square One Publishers;402.
  4. Duke JA. Medicinal Plants of Latin America. NY:Taylor and Francis;2009.212.
  5. Kieley S. Ayurvedic medicine and renal calculi. J Endourol. Aug2008;22(8):1613-1616.
  6. Barros ME. Effects of an aqueous extract from Phyllantus niruri on calcium oxalate crystallization in vitro. Urol Res.Feb2003;30(6):374-379.
  7. Nishiura JL. Phyllanthus niruri normalizes elevated urinary calcium levels in calcium stone forming (CSF) patients. Urol Res. Oct2004;32(5):362-366.
  8. Murugaiyah V. Mechanisms of antihyperuricemic effect of Phyllanthus niruri and its lignan constituents. J Ethnopharmacol. 15Jul2009;124(2):233-239.
  9. Micali S. Can Phyllanthus niruri affect the efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for renal stones? A randomized, prospective, long-term study. J Urol. Sep2006;176(3):1020-1022.
  10. Syamasundar KV. Antihepatotoxic principles of Phyllanthus niruri herbs. J Ethnopharmacol. Sep 1985;14(1):41-44.
  11. Manjrekar AP. Effect of Phyllanthus niruri Linn. treatment on liver, kidney and testes in CCl4 induced hepatotoxic rats. Indian J Exp Biol. Jul2008;46(7):514-520.
  12. Chatterjee M. Hepatoprotective effect of aqueous extract of Phyllanthus niruri on nimesulide-induced oxidative stress in vivo. Indian J Biochem Biophys. Oct2006;43(5):299-305.
  13. Bhattacharjee R. The protein fraction of Phyllanthus niruri plays a protective role against acetaminophen induced hepatic disorder via its antioxidant properties. Phytother Res. Jul2006;20(7):595-601.
  14. Naik AD. Effects of alkaloidal extract of Phyllanthus niruri on HIV replication. Indian J Med Sci. Sep 2003;57(9):387-393.
  15. Qian-Cutrone J. Niruriside, a new HIV REV/RRE binding inhibitor from Phyllanthus niruri. J Nat Prod. Feb 1996;59(2):196-199.
  16. Mellinger CG. Chemical and biological properties of an arabinogalactan from Phyllanthus niruri. J Nat Prod. Oct2005;68(10):1479-1483.
  17. Khanna AK. Lipid lowering activity of Phyllanthus niruri in hyperlipemic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. Sep 2002;82(1):19-22.
  18. Tona L, Mesia K, Ngimbi NP, Chrimwami B, et al. In-vivo antimalarial activity of Cassia occidentalis, Morinda morindoides and Phyllanthus niruri. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. Jan2001;95(1):47-57.
  19. Calixto JB, Yunes RA, Neto AS, Valle RM, Rae GA. Antispasmodic effects of an alkaloid extracted from Phyllanthus sellowianus: a comparative study with papaverine. Braz J Med Biol Res. 1984;17(3-4):313-321.
  20. Iizuka T. Inhibitory effects of methyl brevifolincarboxylate isolated from Phyllanthus niruri L. on platelet aggregation. Biol Pharm Bull. Feb2007;30(2):382-384.

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