With 100+ bioactive compounds, Phyllanthus niruri offers more health benefits than any other plant in the world.
Phyllanthus niruri (Chanca Piedra, Stone Breaker) tea, extract, and powder offer tremendous health benefits. Native to the Amazon region of Peru, Phyllanthus is a nootropic, an adaptogen, and an antioxidant. With 100+ identified bioactive compounds, no other plant in the world offers as many health benefits.
Being phytochemically rich, Phyllanthus niruri has the potential to help many body systems. It has been traditionally used to support the renal system, help the immune and lymphatic systems combat viruses and bacteria, support the digestive system, and reduce stress on the pancreatic system.
Phyllanthus has an incredible number of uses, as we will explore below.
Scientific Research on Phyllanthus
Phyllanthus health benefits have been the subject of more than 1,000 scientific studies. Here’s what Research in Pharmacy has to say about Phyllanthus health benefits in an article titled “Phyllanthus Niruri: A Magic Herb”: “Extracts of this herb have been proven to have therapeutic effects in many clinical studies. The plant is of medicinal importance for numerous ailments like dysentery, influenza, vaginitis, tumors, diabetes, diuretics, jaundice, kidney stones, dyspepsia, antihepatotoxic, antihepatitis-B, antihyperglycemic and also as antiviral and antibacterial.
“P. niruri extract has been shown to inhibit DNA [damage]. It is known for a variety of uses viz. hepatoprotective action, lipid lowering action, antidiabetic action, [and] antifungal action to name a few. It holds a reputed position in both Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.” (You can read the journal article here.)
Phyllanthus niruri is regularly used to treat a variety of chronic diseases and everyday ailments. However, it’s not recognized as a drug nor a medical treatment by the FDA in the United States.
To be clear, we’re not suggesting that Phyllanthus can be used as a treatment for a specific disease. Instead, we will discuss the Phyllanthus health benefits recognized in India, Tibet, and throughout Asia. Phyllanthus offers a broad spectrum of support, which is why we believe it’s a valuable health supplement. The goal is to provide some understanding of the multiple body systems with which Phyllanthus interacts.
The World’s Most Beneficial Plant
Phyllanthus niruri is often called the world’s most beneficial plant — and for good reason. Below, we’ll review Phyllanthus health benefits and some of the more common therapeutic uses of Phyllanthus.
Immune System Support: Being phytochemically rich, Phyllanthus niruri is used to promote a healthy immune system. It’s used to help the immune and lymphatic systems combat viruses and bacteria and reduce stress on the pancreatic system.
Aging and Cognition: Phyllanthus is believed to help with age-related cognitive issues. In a murine study, the extract of Phyllanthus produced a dose-dependent improvement in memory scores of young and older mice. Phyllanthus also successfully reversed the amnesia induced by scopolamine and diazepam.
Interestingly, brain acetyl-cholinesterase activity was also reduced. According to the researchers, the underlying mechanism for the observed nootropic effect may be pro-cholinergic activity. The researchers went on to say that “it would be worthwhile to explore the therapeutic potential of Phyllanthus in the management of patients with cognitive disorders.”
Digestive and Intestinal Issues: Phyllanthus health benefits include promoting healthy digestion and addressing digestive disorders. According to the Unani system of medicine, Phyllanthus is used to stimulate digestion in the stomach and is useful for sores, in chronic dysentery, and for jaundice. It is also used for constipation, irritable bowel system, flatulence, ulcers, vomiting, intermittent fever, kidney stones, and hemorrhoids. It maintains regular elimination, helping to clear accumulated toxins in the gut.
Antioxidant Properties: Phyllanthus niruri has powerful antioxidant properties – it not only inhibits reactive oxygen species (ROS) production but also stimulates the body’s production of superoxide dismutase, lowers lipid peroxidation, and scavenges free radicals. Phyllanthus is many times more powerful than dietary antioxidants (like Vitamin C and E) in helping your body neutralize Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Overproduction of ROS causes aging and many diseases.
The various bioactive compounds (alkaloids, flavonoids, polyphenols, and coumarins) of Phyllanthus include a unique phyto-protein. Together, these elements protect against oxidative damage and stimulate repair mechanisms. A recent study even suggested that extracts of the plant might be helpful in mitigating Alopecia-type hair loss.
Protection Against Illnesses and Diseases: In ethnomedical systems around the world, Phyllanthus niruri is thought to be effective against a large variety of illnesses and diseases, including bronchitis, leprosy, malaria, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis, herpes, and anemia.
Heart Health: By supporting the removal of the body’s toxins in a natural way and by improving digestion, Phyllanthus health benefits may include boosting metabolism, helping with metabolic syndromes, and improving energy. Phyllanthus supports a healthy cholesterol balance and can reduce hypertension, thus helping support heart health.
Healing Powers: Phyllanthus is valued for its healing and rejuvenating powers. Therapeutic uses include strengthening and nourishing the joint tissues. It is also used to support the proper function of the colon, lungs, liver, and spleen. Phyllanthus niruri herb has also been traditionally used to support healthy skin.
Anti-Inflammation: According to the Ayurvedic system of medicine, Phyllanthus niruri is considered cooling and anti-inflammatory, promoting a healthy inflammatory response.
Synergistic, Adaptogen-based Full-Body Support and Stress Relief: Phyllanthus niruri is a member of a rare and remarkable group of plants called adaptogens, which help the body adapt to physical, chemical, biological, emotional, or environmental stress. Phyllanthus health benefits include helping the body deal with oxidative stress, hypertension, and inflammation related to immune system imbalance. Adapting to these stressors is essential for maintaining good health.
Phyllanthus has one of the largest varieties of tannins, saponins, flavonoids, and glycosides of any plant in the world. These chemical compounds give adaptogens their health benefits. Panax Ginseng, the most famous adaptogen, contains 28 types of saponins, while Phyllanthus niruri contains 168 different active compounds (6 times as many).
A recent study shows potential for Phyllanthus niruri to be a beneficial immunomodulator in Hanson’s disease. In addition, by supporting healthy liver function Phyllanthus can support the body’s healthy cortisol metabolism, modulating the negative effects of “the stress hormone.”
Healthy Renal System and Healthy Kidney Stones and Gallstones: Phyllanthus niruri tea, extract, and powder have been traditionally used to help eliminate kidney stones and gallbladder stones (gallstones). It has been used to support the renal system, promote urinary discharge, and promote healthy water elimination.
Hepatoprotective Effects: Phyllanthus niruri has been reported to be effective against Hepatitis B and other viral infections. Research in Japan and India has demonstrated its liver-healing properties.
Inhibition of HIV Replication: Phyllanthus niruri is reported to have an inhibitory effect on retroviruses, including human immunodeficiency virus.
Reduced Lipids/Cholesterol: In an animal experiment, Phyllanthus health benefits include lowering the elevated level of low-density lipoprotein lipids.
Anti-Diabetic Activity: Phyllanthus niruri was found to significantly reduce the blood sugar in normal rats and in lab animals. The results indicate potential anti-diabetic action of Phyllanthus.
Anti-Spasmodic Activity: Phyllanthus niruri’s strong antispasmodic activity serves as a relaxing agent for smooth muscles, which probably accounts for the efficacy of Phyllanthus niruri in expelling kidney stones and gallstones.
Phyllanthus Health Benefits
This long list of Phyllanthus health benefits indicates that Phyllanthus niruri interacts with the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous, renal, and integumentary body systems. Today, it’s generally recognized that Phyllanthus supports a whole healthy lifestyle approach related to issues with cardiovascular disease, the immune system, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, psychological stress, and neurocognition.
There is good reason to believe that a lifestyle-related approach to optimal health will benefit from support with Phyllanthus niruri as a health supplement.