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Family Euphorbiaceae
Phyllanthus urinaria L.

Ye xia zhu

Scientific names  Common names 
Diasperus urinaria (L.) Kuntze Apoy-apoyan (Sub.)
Phyllanthus alatus Blume Ibaiba-an (Sub.) 
Phyllanthus cantoniensis Homem. Iba-ibaan (Tag.) 
Phyllanthus croizatii Steyerm. Layolayon (Bik,) 
Phyllanthus lauterbachianus Pax Minuh-minuh (Sul.) 
Phyllanthus leprocarpus Wight Payog (Mbo.) 
Phyllanthus mauritianus Henry H. Johnst. Suru-sampalok (Bik.) 
Phyllanthus nozeranii Rossignol & Haicour Tabi (Mag.) 
Phyllanthus rubens Bpjer ex Baker Takum-takum (P. Bis.) 
Phyllanthus urinaria L. Talindaon (Pamp.) 
  Turutalikod (Bik.) 
  Chamber bitter (Engl.)
  Leafflowwer (Engl.)
  Shatterstone (Engl.)
  Stonebreaker (Engl.)
Phyllanthus urinaria L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Hazarmani.
CHINESE: Ye xia zhu, Zen zhu cao.
HINDI: Hajarmani.
KANNADA: Kempu kirunelli.
LAOTIAN: Sa no khok.
MALAYALAM: Chirukizhukanelli, Chukannakizhanelli.
MANIPURI: Chakpa-heikru.
MARATHI: Laal bhooyiavali, Bhuiavli.
NEPALI: Kanthad
SANSKRIT: Ajata, Amala, Hazarmani, Ujjhata.
TAMIL: Civappu kilanelli, Cirukilanelli.

Gen info and etymology

The species name – urinaria – refers to the urinary system and to its long history of folkloric use and benefit in the treatment of kidney and gallbladder stones; and hence, its common names of shatterstone or stonebreaker.

Ibaiba-an is an erect, branched, slender, glabrous or nearly glabrous herb, 10 to 40 centimeters high, with angled branches. Leaves are distichous, imbricate, alternate, pale beneath, sessile, elliptic-oblong to oblong, thin, 5 to 10 millimeters long, obtuse or apiculate, base slightly oblique, stipules lanceolate.
Flowers are unisexual, very small, 5-merous, axillary, about 1 millimeter in diameter, sessile or very shortly pedicelled. Sepal are greenish, stamens 3, filaments united below; anthers erect, the slit vertical. Fruits are capsules, about 2 millimeters in diameter, muricate or smooth, of 3 dehiscent.

- A weed in open spaces at low and medium altitude.
- In waste places throughout the Philippines.

- Contains alkaloids, tannins.
- Study isolated 14 compounds, seven were identified as: corilagin, rutin, brevifolincarboxylic acid, isostrictiniin, geraniin, gallic acid and ellagic acid.
- Study isolated two new phenolic compounds, crystal VI (methyl brevifolincarboxylate) and crystal IX (trimethyl ester dehydrochebulic acid) together with 8 known compounds elucidated as n-octadecane(I), beta-sitosterol(III), ellagic acid(IV), daucosterol(V), kaempferol(VII), quercetin(VIII), gallic acid(X) and rutin(XI). (15)
- Aqueous and chloroform plant extracts yielded tannins, saponins, flavonoids, cardenolides, phlobatannins, cardiac glycosides, and phenolic compounds. Specific bioactive compounds were methylene chloride (1),
2-(3- Oxo- 1,3-Dihydroisobenzenefuran-1- ylmethyl) Benzoic acid (2), Carissanol dimethyl ether (3), Phenethylamine, 2-Methoxy α,-Methyl-4,5-( Methylenedioxy) (4), 16 - Heptadecanal (5), Cyclohexane, 1-(1,5- Dimethylhexyl)-4-(4- Methylpentyl) (6). (see study below) (18)

- Considered abortifacient, ecbolic, febrifuge, antihepatotoxic, antiviral, antibacterial and hypoglycemic.
- Studies have suggested anticancer, antidiabetic, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic, anti-telomerase properties.

Parts utilized
· Entire plant.

· Infantile convulsions, hepatitis, jaundice.
· Nephritic edema, urinary infection and lithiasis.
· Enteritis-diarrhea, dysentery,
· Reddening and swelling pains of the eye.
· Dosage: use 15 to 30 gms of dried material or 30 to 60 gms of fresh material in decoction.
· In Ayurveda, used to treat jaundice, dysentery, diabetes, skin ulcers, itching.
· In China, used to eliminate gallstones and kidney stones; for liver disease and as immune stimulation.

Ellagic Acid / Anti-Angiogenic Activity: Study evaluated the anti-angiogenic effect of a water extract of P. urinaria in chorioallantoic membrane in chicken embryo and human vascular endothelial cells. Results suggest that Ellagic Acid is the active component of P urinaria to exhibit anti-angiogenic activity and to inhibit the secretion of MMP-2 (matrix metalloproteinase-2) protein from HUVECs (human vascular endothelial cells). (11)
Anti-viral / Anti-HSV2:
(1) Acetone, ethanol and methanol extracts of Phyllanthus urinaria inhibit HSV-2 infection in vitro: Study showed the extracts likely inhibited HSV-2 infection by decreasing virus infectivity and disturbing the early stage of infection. (2) Study yielded excoecarianin with possible entry-inhibitor activity against HSV2 and presents a potential for combinational drug treatment in the management of HSV-2 infection.
Chronic Hepatitis B: Study of aqueous extracts of dried herbs of PU did not show cytotoxicity in uninfected normal cells while protecting MDBK cells from viral infection. Results support other clinical studies that suggests the herbal supplement may be beneficial for chronic hepatitis B patients.
Hippomanin / Anti-Herpes: Hippomanin A from Acetone Extract of Phyllanthus urinaria inhibited HSV-2 but not HSV-1 Infection In Vitro: Results shows hippomanin A impeded HSV-2 but not HSV1. (2)
Antioxidant / Cardioprotective:
Antioxidative and Cardioprotective Effects of Phyllanthus urinaria L. on Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity: Study showed the PU's cardioprotection was mediated through multiple pathways, and suggests this plant may be an alternative source of antioxidants for the prevention of DOX cardiotoxicity. (3)
Study isolated a series of 15 phenolic compounds, including ellagitannins 1-7, flavonoids 8-10, and simple hydoxylated aromatic acides 11-15. Results demonstrated considerable radical-scavenging activity. (4)
Study of alcohol extract of Phyllanthus urinaria showed hepatoprotective effects by inducing the activity of the liver enzyme system. (5) Study concludes that P urinaria is effective in attenuating the acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity. The therapeutic mechanism may involve the inhibition of cytochrome P450 CYP2E1 enzyme. (12)
Anti-Telomerase Activity / Anti-Cancer:
Study investigated the effect of P urinaria on telomerase activity and apoptotic pathways in the human nasopharyngeal carcinoma lines. Study yielded 5 major compounds: gallic acid, brevifolin carboxylic acid, corilagin, phyllanthusiin C and ellagic acid. Results showed PU induces death of NPC-BM1 cells in vitro through apoptosis induction and telomerase inhibition. (6)
Water extract of P urinaria was tested for anticancer effect on human myeloid leukemia cells. P urinaria induced apoptosis of HL-60 cells probably mediated through a ceramide-related pathway.
Anticancer Effects and Mechanisms:
Study reports the anticancer effects of P. urinaria both in vivo and in vitro, together with relevant mechanisms. Study suggests the anticancer activity of the water extract is mainly due to induced apoptosis of cancer cells as demonstrated by DNA fragmentation and increased caspase-3-activity through both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Decrease in viability might be partly due to down-regulation of telomerase activation and induction of the apoptotic process. (16)
Apoptosis in Human Osteosarcoma 143B Cells:
Study demonstrated that P. urinaria inhibited human osteosarcoma 143B cells growth through an apoptotic extrinsic pathway to activate Fas receptor/ligand expression. Study offers evidence that mitochondria are essential for the anticancer mechanism induced by P. urinaria through both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. (17)
Study evaluated the antidiabetic properties of bioactive compounds extracted from P. urinaria. Chloroform and aqueous extracts both yielded bioactive compounds, with the aqueous extract showing to be richer in phytochemicals than the chloroform extract. The phytochemicals showed better efficiency in lowering blood glucose level as compared to metformin. (see constituents above) (18)
Antagonistc Antimicrobial Activity with P. tectorius and L. rhamnosus:
Study evaluated the bioactivity of P. urinaria leaf extract before and after it was combined with Pandanus tectorius fruit extract and Lactobacillus rhamnosus extract. In combination the extracts showed weaker activities. Results showed the antagonistic characteristics of P. urinaria and P. tectorius and L. rhamnosus on Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. (19)
Amelioration of Nutritional Steatohepatitis:
Study evaluated the effects of P. urinaria on nutritional steatohepatitis both in vitro and in vivo. Phyllanthus prevented MCD (methionine-and-cholie-deficient)-induced hepatic fat accumulation and steatohepatitis in mice, probably by dampening oxidative stress, ameliorating inflammation, and decreasing lipid accumulation. (20)
Antiviral / Herpes Simplex Viruses:
Study evaluated the antiviral activity of aqueous extracts of four Phyllanthus species against herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2 in Vero cells. P. urinaria exhibited the strongest antiviral activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2, with S1>33.6. (21)

Anti-Inflammatory / Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis: Study evaluated the preventive effects of PU extract on paw edema in adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats. Results indicate the PU extract is effective as anti-inflammatory agent in adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats, an activity probably markedly influenced by the inhibition of neutrophil migration into inflamed tissue. (22)
Antiviral / Corilagin: Study evaluated the antiviral effect of P. urinaria and corilagin, a major component, on EV71 (human enterovirus 71) and CA16 (coxsackie virus A16) infection in vitro. Results showed corilagin reduced the cytotoxicity induced by EV71 and CA16 on Vero cells with an !C50 value of 5.6 and 32.33 µg/ml, respectively. (23)

• Wild-crafted.
• Capsules and extracts in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Updated February 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Acetone, ethanol and methanol extracts of Phyllanthus urinaria inhibit HSV-2 infection in vitro / Chine-Min Yang et al / Antiviral Research, Vol 67, Issue 1, July 2005, Pages 24-30 / doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2005.02.008 |
Hippomanin A from Acetone Extract of Phyllanthus urinaria inhibited HSV-2 but not HSV-1 Infection In Vitro / Chien-Min Yang et al / Phytotherapy Research Volume 21 Issue 12, Pages 1182 - 1186 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.2232
Antioxidative and Cardioprotective Effects of Phyllanthus urinaria L. on Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity / Chularojmontri, Linda et al / Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin 28(7) pp.1165-1171 20050701
Phenolic Antioxidants from the Whole Plant of Phyllanthus urinaria / Min Xu et al / Chemistry & Biodiversity
Volume 4 Issue 9, Pages 2246 - 2252 / Published Online: 21 Sep 2007
Protection of Ethanol Extract of Phyllanthus urinaria L. for Liver against Experimental Lesion in M / Journal of Guangxi Traditional Chinese Medical University /
Phyllanthus urinaria Increases Apoptosis and Reduces Telomerase Activity in Human Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Cells / Sheng-Teng Huang et al / Forsch Komplementmed 2009;16:34-40 (DOI: 10.1159/000194154)
Phyllanthus - an antiviral "penicillin" / Phyllanthus Net
Excoecarianin, Isolated from Phyllanthus urinaria Linnea, Inhibits Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection through Inactivation of Viral Particles / Hua-Yew Cheng et al / eCAM, doi:10.1093/ecam/nep157
Phyllanthus urinaria induces the Fas receptor/ligand expression and ceramide-mediated apoptosis in HL-60 cells / Sheng-Teng Huang et al / Life Sciences • Volume 75, Issue 3, 4 June 2004, Pages 339-351 / doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2003.12.013

Studies on chemical constituents of Phyllanthus urinaria L.
/ Zhang, L Z et al / China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica / 2000-Oct; vol 25 (issue 10) : pp 615-7

Ellagic Acid, the Active Compound of Phyllanthus urinaria, Exerts In Vivo Anti-angiogenic Effect and Inhibits MMP-2 Activity / Sheng-Teng Huang et al / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nep207
Phyllanthus urinaria extract attenuates acetaminophen induced hepatotoxicity: involvement of cytochrome P450 CYP2E1 / FreeLibrary.com
Phyllanthus urinaria / Synonyms / The Plant List
Chamber bitter / Common names / The Plant List
Chemical studies on the constituents of Phyllanthus urinaria L / Yao QQ1, Zuo CX. / Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1993;28(11):829-35.
Anti-cancer Effects of Phyllanthus urinaria and Relevant Mechanisms / Sheng-Teng Huang, MD, PhD; Jong-Hwei S. Pang, PhD; Rong-Chi Yang, PhD / Chang Gung Med J Vol. 33 No. 5 September-October 2010
Phyllanthus urinaria Induces Apoptosis in Human Osteosarcoma 143B Cells via Activation of Fas/FasL- and Mitochondria-Mediated Pathways / Hsin-Yi Wu, Tsu-Kung Lin, Hsiao-Mei Kuo, Ya-Ling Huang, Chia-Wei Liou, Pei-Wen Wang, Jiin-Haur Chuang, and Sheng-Teng Huang / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012 (2012) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/925824
Analysis of anti-diabetic properties of Phyllanthus urinaria by docking studies / Mohammad Nadeem Akhtar and Gayathri M.* / Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2015, 7 (12):132-137 /
Antimicrobial Activities of Phyllanthus urinaria Extracts Before and After Combined with Pandanus tectorious and Lactobacillus rhamnosus PN04 / Tu HK Nguyebnand MiNH D Nguyen / Biomedical & Pharmacology Journal Vol. 6(2), 241-247 (2013)
Phyllanthus Urinaria Ameliorates the Severity of Nutritional Steatohepatitis Both In Vitro and In Vivo
/ Bo Shen, Jun Yu, Shiyan Wang, Eagle S.H. Chu, V.W.S. Wong, Xin Zhou, Ge Lin, Joseph J.Y. Sung, and Henry L.Y. Chan / HEPATOLOGY, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2008
Evaluation of Antiviral Activities of Four Local Malaysian Phyllanthus Species against Herpes Simplex Viruses and Possible Antiviral Target / Wee Chee Tan, Indu Bala Jaganath, Rishya Manikam, Shamala Devi Sekaran / Int J Med Sci 2013; 10(13):1817-1829. / doi:10.7150/ijms.6902
Preventive Effects of Phyllanthus urinaria Extract on Paw Edema in Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis Rats / Myung Hwa Kang, Tae Soo Kim, Chun Geon Park, Hee Woon Park, Young Woon Ju, Young Min Cho, Sang Bum Koh and Ha Jeong Seong / The FASEB Journal. 2008;22:889.5.
Antiviral effects of Phyllanthus urinaria containing corilagin against human enterovirus 71 and Coxsackievirus A16 in vitro. / Sang-Gu Yeo, Jae Hyoung Song, Eun-Hye Hong, Bo-Ra Lee, Yong Soo Kwon, Sun-Young Chang, Seung Hyun Kim, Sang Won Lee, Jae-Hak Park, Hyun-Jeong Ko / Arch Pharm Res 2015 Feb 23;38(2):193-202. Epub 2014 Apr 23.

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