Phyllanthus niruri may inhibit Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium linked to ulcers and digestive disorders.
Why Helicobacter pylori Is So Hard to Treat
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a spiral-shaped bacterium found to cause peptic ulcers, digestive disorders, and, after prolonged exposure, stomach cancer. Australian physician Barry Marshall conclusively proved a link between H. pylori and cancer more than two decades ago.
H. pylori is difficult to eradicate. It adheres to the intestinal lining. It also uses the urease enzyme, which has a toxic effect on human cells, to generate ammonia to give itself a friendly environment in which to thrive.
While powerful antibiotics (amoxicillin, tetracycline, and clarithromycin) are often used to treat H. pylori, side effects of the antibiotics plus the bacteria’s increasing resistance pose serious therapeutic problems.
So what can inhibit Helicobacter pylori? As it turns out, the answer is Phyllanthus niruri (also known as Chanca Piedra and Stone Breaker).
The Helicobacter pylori and Phyllanthus Connection
In the June 2012 issue of Phytotherapy Research (26:791-799), scientists from the U.S. and Chile reported that Phyllanthus niruri inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori.
Phyllanthus niruri contains numerous active ingredients like tannins, gallates, lignans, terpenoids, and various alkaloids, which is one reason why researchers believe bacteria can’t develop any resistance to it.
How Phyllanthus niruri Inhibits H. pylori
Studies have shown that Phyllanthus niruri provides three mechanisms to inhibit H. pylori:
- It can inhibit H. pylori invasion and adhesion to human gastric epithelial cells.
- Biphenols contribute to H. pylori cell membrane breakdown.
- The querticin in Phyllanthus niruri acts as a urease enzyme inhibitor.
The hydroalcoholic extract of Phyllanthus niruri also inhibited Helicobacter pylori-induced nuclear factor (NF)-kappa B activation and the subsequent release of interleukin (IL)-8 in AGS cells (the mechanism by which H. pylori contributes to the formation of cancer). This sentence is key, so we’ll rephrase it in non-scientific terms — in these studies Phyllanthus niruri inhibited the mechanism by which H. pylori contributes to the formation of cancer.
Furthermore, antibiotics inadvertently kill the friendly bacteria housed in our large intestines, which causes side effects like diarrhea and candida overgrowth. According to the same studies, another advantage of Phyllanthus niruri is that it doesn’t affect friendly lactobacillus. When taken concurrently with probiotics like lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria, Phyllanthus niruri won’t affect friendly bacteria.
Phyllanthus niruri Supports Body Functions Without Interfering with Your Healthy Microbiome
To be clear, we aren’t advocating that Phyllanthus niruri should be your chosen treatment for Helicobacter pylori. In all cases of disease, we want you to consult with your integrative health provider.
From our perspective, the interesting news in the study is that while Phyllanthus niruri and its extracts showed evidence of inhibiting H. pylori, there was no sign of Phyllanthus niruri harming beneficial bacteria in the Lactobacillus family.
That’s why we believe Phyllanthus niruri is one of the most beneficial plants on the planet. Phyllanthus is our flagship product, and our selection of plants and plant extracts is highly curated. We chose our limited selection of teas and extracts — our super-botanicals — not only because they’re effective at supporting our body systems but also because they’re safe.
Not surprisingly, these plants regularly make the news in phytochemical research circles. We believe they are the healthiest teas and extracts in the world.
To learn more, a good place to start is with the Phyllanthus niruri FAQ.