What you need to know about Phyllanthus niruri

Phyllanthus niruri is a plant with potential benefits for the wellbeing. For example, it may play a role in the treatment of ulcers and urinary tract stones. However there is insufficient evidence of its safety and effectiveness due to a lack of research.

Originating in India, the Phyllanthus niruri plant is native to tropical coastal areas. It has long played a part in the treatment of several conditions in herbal medicine including:

  • urinary tract stones
  • dysentery
  • ulcers
  • swelling
  • diseases that mainly affect the genitals, particularly the urinary tract

Few work does however support any of these uses.

In this post, we explain Phyllanthus niruri’s potential health benefits, and the evidence behind them.

Phyllanthus niruri may help break up urinary tract stones
Phyllanthus niruri may help break up urinary tract stones.
Image credit: Challiyan, 2018.

Possible health benefits 

Phyllanthus niruri may help treat the following medical problems:

Urinary tract stones

Phyllanthus niruri may help break up or decrease the size of stones forming in the urinary tract.

Researchers found that Phyllanthus niruri helped reduce the size of those stones in a 2018 analysis with 56 participants. Researchers also found that the removal of magnesium and potassium from the body via the urine was enhanced.

Another study found that Phyllanthus niruri had helped to reduce urinary tract stone development.

Confirming those promising results would require higher quality clinical trials.

Issues requiring diuretics

Diuretics have the body absorb salt and sodium. These will help treat hypertension and a number of other disorders.

Many herbal medicine practitioners use Phyllanthus niruri as a diuretic.

Researchers found in a 2018 report that Phyllanthus niruri has a diuretic effect in rats, thus improving sodium excretion in urine. Additional research can confirm if the plant has this impact in humans.

Viral infections

A 2013 study looked ant the impact of four species of Phyllanthus on herpes simplex virus in cell cultures. While the least effective species was Phyllanthus niruri, the virus has tended to be combated.

Other studies indicate Phyllanthus niruri could be effective in treating other diseases, such as hepatitis B and HIV. Until drawing conclusions, however, researchers will need to further investigate the effects in living animals and humans.

Inflammation

Researchers found in a rat study in 2017 that Phyllanthus niruri tended to minimize both the inflammation and ibuprofen.

Also, a 2013 study in rats and mice found that a plant extract might be able to combat inflammation.

Ulcers

A study in rats in 2017 showed that Phyllanthus niruri could reduce the size of the ulcers.

Moreover, human work is critical in deciding whether plant extract can be an important component of the treatment of ulcers.

Diabetes

A 2010 rat study found that Phyllanthus niruri has the potential to be of assistance in diabetes treatment. Researchers concluded that plant extracts could help lower blood sugar fastening and avoid spikes of blood sugar.

Another study showed that a different species of Phyllanthus could reduce blood sugar levels and weight in mice with diabetes.

How do people use it?

The leaves and extracts of Phyllanthus niruri are used in teas and supplement tablets.

It should be addressed with a doctor or other healthcare provider before using Phyllanthus niruri. Additives can cause adverse effects and interfere with ongoing therapies.

Phyllanthus niruri or any other supplements are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Such items can differ in content and quality.

Read reviews carefully before buying supplements, and check labels for any additional ingredients.

Risks and side effects

Data on adverse effects of Phyllanthus niruri is minimal. This is due to a lack of human research— so far almost all of the relevant studies have been in animals or cell cultures.

A 2011 study studied the Phyllanthus niruri toxicity in rats. The researchers found no defects or other signs of toxicity in internal organs.

Naturally, though, humans have bigger, more complex bodies than rodents, and it’s hard to anticipate whether the effects for rodents would mimic human effects.

Consult a doctor before using any product which contains Phyllanthus niruri. In any supplement, the ingredients may interfere with medicines or cause other adverse effects.

Summary

Phyllanthus niruri has long been involved in herbal medicine, especially in the treatment of stones and ulcers in the urinary tract.

However, the use of Phyllanthus niruri is currently supported by little scientific evidence.

Current minimal research has primarily involved either animals or cell cultures. The effectiveness or safety of Phyllanthus niruri can not be guaranteed until more research is conducted by scientists in humans.

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