Phyllanthus pulcher Wall. ex Müll.Arg

Last updated: 14 June 2017

Scientific Name

Phyllanthus pulcher Wall. ex Müll.Arg


Diasperus pallidifolius Kuntze, Diasperus pulcher (Wall. ex Müll.Arg.) Kuntze, Epistylium glaucescens Baill. Epistylium phyllanthoides Baill, Phyllanthus asteranthos Croizat. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Naga buana, saga buana, naga jumat, kelurut tanjung, nohok penuduk, kayu putih, semilit patung [2]
Thailand Waan-thoranee-saan. [2]

Geographical Distributions

Phyllanthus pulcher present in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. [3]

Botanical Description

P. pulcher is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family. It is a shrub which can reach up to 1.5 m high. [4]

The leaves are distichous with 15-30 pairs along each branch let. The stipules are triangular-lanceolate measuring 3-4 x 1.5-2 mm, reddish brown in colour, entire or obscurely serrulate. The petiole measures 0.8-1.5 mm. The leaf blade obliquely oblong to ovate-oblong in shape, measuring 1,.8-2 x 0.8-1.3 cm, membranous, abaxillary grey-green, adaxially green, margins slightly revolute. The lateral veins have 4 -6 pairs, obscure. [4]

The inflorescence a bisexual axillary fascicle, usually with several male and one female flower. [4]

The flowers have ciliate bracts at the base. The male flowers have delicate pedicels, measure 5-10 mm. The sepals 4, ovate-triangular, measuring 2-3 x 1-2 mm, dark red in colour and margins lacerate. The disk glands 4, square or Reni form in shape, measure 0.5-0.7 mm wide, flat and membranous. The stamens 2 while the filaments are short and cornnate. The anthers longitudinally dehiscent. The female flowers had filamentous pedicels measuring 15-23 mm. The sepals 6, ovate-triangular in shape, measuring 3.5-4 x 1.5 mm, margins lacerate, midrib thicker abaxially; disk disk-shaped, fleshy, surrounding ovary at base, apex 6-lobed; ovary subglobose, smooth and 3-celled. The styles 3, spreading, bifid at apex. [4]

The fruit pedicels measure 2.5 cm while the sepals are persistent. The capsules subglobose in shape measure 3 mm in diameter, brownish in colour and smooth. [4]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

P. pulcher has been reported to contain bis(6-methylheptyl)phthalate, phyllanthal-A and 3,4- dihydroxy-5-methoxy-3’,4’,5’-trihydroxyoxepino-chromene-2-one stigmast-5-en-3-ol-oleate, diisobutyl adipate, β- sitosterol, 7-tridecanone and β-sitosteryl-β-D-glucopyranoside 12(13)-dehydro-3α-acetoxyolean-28-oic acid and lupanol acetate 3α-acetoxy-25- hydroxyolean-12-en-28-oic acid, glochidone and glochidonol. [5]

Plant Part Used

Leaves and roots [2]

Traditional Use

Decoction of the plant has multiple medicinal values. It can be used as an eye wash, fomentations for nasal ulcers, abscesses, pruritus, fever and renal problems in children. Decoction of the whole plant can relieve stomach ache. [2]

Paste of the leaves or sap is applied on aching tooth for relieve. [2]

The decoction of the roots is a remedy for hypertension. [2]

Preclinical Data


Cytotoxic activity

Studies on the cytotoxicity of P. pulcher and found a number of compounds isolated have acitivity against a number of cancer cell lines (MCF-7 (breast), DU-145 (prostate) and H460 (lung)). In the dichloromethane extracts of the aerial parts he identified the four compounds stigmast-5-en-3-ol-oleate, bis(6-methylheptyl)phthalate, phyllanthal-A, and β-sitosteryl-β-D-glucopyranoside to be active against MCF-7 Cells; phyllanthal-A is also active against DU-145; 3α- acetoxy-25-hydroxyolean-12-en-28-oic acid (197) which was isolated for the first time in this genus showed cytotoxic activity against MCF-7 and DU-145 cell lines and glochidonol exhibited potent antitumour activity against all the tested cell lines. [5]

Anti-HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity

A screening exercise for the activity of Phyllanthus sp. found extract of P. pulcher to have the strongest inhibitiong of HIV-RT at IC50 of 5.9 μg/mL. [6]

Antiangiogenic activity

P. pulcher was one of the plants subjected to an anti-angiogenic activity studies. At a dose of 100 μg/mL it recorded an inhibition of 78.8% against rat aortic vascular growth. However when tested on human umbilical vein endothelial cells it only decrease the proliferation by 15.5%. [7]


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Phyllanthus pulcher Wall. ex Müll.Arg. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2017 June 14]. Available from:
  2. Mat-Salleh K, Latif A. Tumbuhan ubatan Malaysia. Selangor, Malaysia: Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 2002; p. 347
  3. Catalogue of Life. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World. Phyllanthus pulcher Wall. ex Müll.Arg (Maingay ex C.B.Clarke) K.M.Wong & Sugumaran. [homepage on the Internet]. c2015 [updated 2017 Feb 14; cited 2017 June 14]. Available from:
  4. Flora of China. Volume 12. Phyllanthus pulcher (Baillon) Wallich ex Müller Argoviensis, Linnaea. [homepage on the Internet]. No date [cited 2010 Nov 11] Available from:         
  5. Gururaj B. Isloation and characetrisation of compounds from naga buana (Phyllanthus pulcher) and similit matinggi (Casearia capitellata) and their cytotoxic effects on cancer cell lines. Masters Thesis. Universiti Putra Malaysia. Available at:
  6. Eldeena IMS, Seowa E-M, Abdullaha R, Sulaimana SF. In vitro antibacterial, antioxidant, total phenolic contents and anti-HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activities of extracts of seven Phyllanthus sp. South African Journal of Botany; 2010.
  7. Ng KW, Salhimi SM, Majid AM, Chan KL. Anti-angiogenic and cytotoxicity studies of some medicinal plants. Planta Med. 2010;76(9):935-940