Phyllanthus niruri L.

Last updated: 21 October 2016

Scientific Name

Phyllanthus niruri L.


Diasperus niruri (L.) Kuntze, Niruris annua Raf., Niruris indica Raf., Nymphanthus niruri (L.) Lour., Phyllanthus carolinianus Blanco, Phyllanthus ellipticus Buckley [Illegitimate], Phyllanthus erectus (Medik.) M.R.Almeida, Phyllanthus filiformis Pav. ex Baill., Phyllanthus humilis Salisb., Phyllanthus kirganelia Blanco, Phyllanthus moeroris Oken, Urinaria erecta Medik. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Dukung anak, dukong-dukong anak, amin buah, rami buah, turi hutan [2][3]
English child pick-a-back [2][3]
China zhen chu cao, ye xia zhu [2][3]
India keelaanelli [2][3]

Geographical Distributions

Phyllanthus 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. [3]

Botanical Description

P. niruri is a member of Phyllanthaceae family. P. 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. The bark on the ascending branches is smooth, produces small flowers and tiny smooth fruits that are filled with seeds. P. niruri is considered a weed and is very prolific. [3]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

P. niruri has been reported to containlignans, glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, ellagitannins, phenylpropanoids and arabinogalactan. [4][5]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant. [3]

Traditional Use

P. niruri has been use traditionally for kidney and gall stones. Other conditions used by indigenous people of the Amazon include malaria, dysentery, diabetes, liver disorders and some digestive disorders. P. niruri has been used as an abortifacient and to stimulate menstruation. [6][7]

Preclinical Data


P. niruri has been reported to decrease calcium oxalate crystallization in human and laboratory studies. [8][9][10] 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 [11]. 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. The authors concluded that administration of P. niruri after extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for lower pole stones significantly improved overall outcomes. [12]

P. niruri have been reported to have anti-oxidant and hepatoprotective activity. [13][14] 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 [15]. 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 [16].

P. niruri has been reported to decrease the replication and binding of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). [17][18] Teas made from P. niruri are reported to improve immune function, mainly due to the arabinogalactan component in aqueous extracts [19].

P. niruri has been reported to have lipid lowering activity, mediated through inhibition of hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis, increased faecal bile acids excretion and enhanced plasma lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase activity [20].

P. niruri have been reported to have antimalarial activity in laboratory studies, supporting its traditional uses for malaria [21].


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Side effects

P. niruri has been reported to inhibit platelet aggregation. P. niruri should be used with caution in individuals with bleeding disorders. [22]

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

P. niruri have been reported to have uterine relaxing properties in laboratory studies, so use in pregnancy should be with caution [23].

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

P. niruri must be use with caution in individuals taking anticoagulant medications, including aspirin and warfarin (Coumadin). [23]

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Phyllanthus niruri L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Oct 26]. Available from:
  2. Burkill IH. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 2. London: Crown agents, 1935; p. 1718-1719.
  3. Musa Y, Zaharah A, Wan Zaki WM. (Musa Y, Muhammad Ghawas M, Mansor P, editors). Dukung anak (Phyllanthus amarus). In: Penanaman tumbuhan ubatan & beraroma. Serdang: MARDI, 2005; p. 14-20.
  4. 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. 2009;23(6):573-580.
  5. Bagalkotkar G. Phytochemicals from Phyllanthus niruri Linn. and their pharmacological properties: a review. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006;58(12):1559-1570.
  6. Taylor L. The healing power of rainforest herbs:  A guide to understanding and using herbal medicinals. New York: Square One Publishers, 2005; p. 402.
  7. Duke JA. Medicinal plants of Latin America. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2009; p. 212.
  8. Kieley S, Dwivedi R, Monga M. Ayurvedic medicine and renal calculi. J Endourol. 2008;22(8):1613-1616.
  9. Barros ME, Schor N, Boim MA. Effects of an aqueous extract from Phyllantus niruri on calcium oxalate crystallization in vitro. Urol Res. 2003;30(6):374-379.
  10. Nishiura JL, Campos AH, Boim MA, Heilberg IP, Schor N. Phyllanthus niruri normalizes elevated urinary calcium levels in calcium stone forming (CSF) patients. Urol Res. 2004;32(5):362-366.
  11. Murugaiyah V, Chan KL. Mechanisms of antihyperuricemic effect of Phyllanthus niruri and its lignan constituents. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;124(2):233-239.
  12. Micali S, Sighinolfi MC, Celia A, et al. Can Phyllanthus niruri affect the efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for renal stones? A randomized, prospective, long-term study. J Urol. 2006;176(3):1020-1022.
  13. Syamasundar KV, Singh B, Thakur RS, Husain A, Kiso Y, Hikino H. Antihepatotoxic principles of Phyllanthus niruri herbs. J Ethnopharmacol. 1985;14(1):41-44.
  14. Manjrekar AP, Jisha V, Bag PP, et al. Effect of Phyllanthus niruri Linn. treatment on liver, kidney and testes in CCl4 induced hepatotoxic rats. Indian J Exp Biol. 2008;46(7):514-520.
  15. Chatterjee M, Sarkar K, Sil PC. Hepatoprotective effect of aqueous extract of Phyllanthus niruri on nimesulide-induced oxidative stress in vivo. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2006;43(5):299-305.
  16. Bhattacharjee R, Sil PC. The protein fraction of Phyllanthus niruri plays a protective role against acetaminophen induced hepatic disorder via its antioxidant properties. Phytother Res. 2006;20(7):595-601.
  17. Naik AD, Juvekar AR. Effects of alkaloidal extract of Phyllanthus niruri on HIV replication. Indian J Med Sci. 2003;57(9):387-393.
  18. Qian-Cutrone J, Huang S, Trimble J, et al. Niruriside, a new HIV REV/RRE binding inhibitor from Phyllanthus niruri. J Nat Prod. 1996;59(2):196-199.
  19. Mellinger CG, Carbonero ER, Noleto GR, et al. Chemical and biological properties of an arabinogalactan from Phyllanthus niruri. J Nat Prod. 2005;68(10):1479-1483.
  20. Khanna AK. Lipid lowering activity of Phyllanthus niruri in hyperlipemic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;82(1):19-22.
  21. Tona L, Mesia K, Ngimbi NP, et al. In-vivo antimalarial activity of Cassia occidentalisMorinda morindoides and Phyllanthus niruri. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2001;95(1):47-57.
  22. Iizuka T. Inhibitory effects of methyl brevifolincarboxylate isolated from Phyllanthus niruri L. on platelet aggregation. Biol Pharm Bull. 2007;30(2):382-384.
  23. 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.