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Family Phyllanthaceae
Phyllanthus virgatus G.Forst.
Xi ye you shou

Scientific names Common names
Diasperus beckleri (Müll.Arg.) Kuntze Kaya-an (Bag.)
Diasperus conterminus (Müll.Arg.) Kuntze Kayut-bulang (Bag.)
Diasperus depressus Kuntze Seed-under-leaf (Engl.)
Diasperus pedunculatus (Kostel.) Kuntze Virgate leaf-flower (Engl.)
Diasperus virgatus (G.Forst.) Kuntze Wiry spurge (Engl.)
Macraea oblongifolia Wight  
Macraea ovalifolia Wight  
Melanthesa anceps (Vahl) Miq.  
Melanthesa rupestris Miq.  
Phyllanthus anceps Vahl  
Phyllanthus beckleri Müll.Arg.  
Phyllanthus conterminus Müll.Arg.  
Phyllanthus eboracensis S.Moore  
Phyllanthus filicaulis Benth.  
Phyllanthus fruticosus B.Heyne ex Benth.  
Phyllanthus gracillimus F.Muell. ex Benth.  
Phyllanthus marginatus B.Heyne ex Benth.  
Phyllanthus narayanswamii Gamble  
Phyllanthus pedunculatus Kostel.  
Phyllanthus pratensis Pancher ex Baill.  
Phyllanthus simplex Retz.  
Phyllanthus simplex var. brevipes Müll.Arg.  
Phyllanthus simplex var. filicaulis (Benth.) Domin  
Phyllanthus simplex var. genuinus Müll.Arg.  
Phyllanthus simplex var. gracillimus Domin  
Phyllanthus simplex subvar. leiospermus (Benth.) Domin  
Phyllanthus simplex var. leiospermus Benth.  
Phyllanthus simplex var. myriocladus Müll.Arg.  
Phyllanthus simplex var. myrtifolius Domin  
Phyllanthus simplex var. oblongifolius (Wight) Müll.Arg.  
Phyllanthus simplex var. pinifolius Domin  
Phyllanthus simplex var. pratensis Müll.Arg.  
Phyllanthus simplex var. virgatus (G.Forst.) Müll.Arg.  
Phyllanthus trachygyne Benth.  
Phyllanthus weinlandii K.Schum.  
Seed-under-leaf is a common name shared by: Phyllanthus niruri and P. simplex.
Phyllanthus simplex Retz. is a synonym of Phyllanthus virgatus G.Forst.
Phyllanthus virgatus G.Forst. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Huang zhu zi cao, Xi ye you shu.
HINDI: Bhui aonla.
INDIA: Gadhausiri, Aamli.
JAPANESE: Shima hime mikansou.
NEPALESE: Bhuii amalaa.
THAI: Khang amphai, Luk tai bai, Phaeng kham hoi.

Gen info
- Phyllanthus is the largest genus in the plant family Phyllanthaceae with a diversity of growth forms that include annual and perennial herbs, shrubs, climbers, floating aquatics, and pachycaulous succulents. The number varies widely, from 750 to 1200. (v)
- Phyllanthus was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, but the type was not designated.

Kaya-an is a slender, erect, simple or slightly branched, smooth, annual herb, 20 to 50 centimeters in height. Stems are flattened, and usually purplish. Leaves are two-ranked, oblong-linear, 1.5 to 3 centimeters long, and 6 to 9 centimeters wide. Flowers are very small, solitary, and borne on the axils of the leaves. Capsules are smooth, depressed-globose, and 3 to 3.5 millimeters in diameter.

- Native to the Philippines.
- Common throughout the Philippines, in open grasslands, fallow rice lands, etc., at low and medium altitudes.
- Also native to Assam, Australia, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, Caroline Is., China, Cook Is.,Fiji, Hainan, Himalaya, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Marianas, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicobar Is., Niue, Northern Territory, Pakistan, Queensland, Samoa, Society Is., South Australia, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Tubuai Is., Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wallis-Futuna Is.

- Phytochemical screening yielded an abundance of phenolics, tannins and flavonoids.
- Leaf yielded phenolics, tannins, flavonoids, sugars, saponins, amino acids, volatile oil.

- Study of chemical composition of leaves yielded four compounds: vanillin, β-daucossterol, β-sitosterol and rutin. (10)
- Phytochemical studies have yielded: tannins (virgatyne, virganin, nodignan), ellagitannins (geraniin), flavonoid sulfonates (galanin-8 sulfonate, galanin-3-O-beta-D-glucoside-8-sulfonate, kaempferol-8-sulfonate), and acid (indole-3-carboxylic acid). (20)
- Phytochemical screening of various extracts of leaf, shoot, and root yielded: alkaloids (LSR), anthocyanins (LSR), catacholic compounds (SR), coumarins (L), dihydrochalcones (LSR), flavonoids (LSR), flavones (LSR), gallic tannins (L), glycosides (LSR), phenols (LSR), proteins (LR), saponins (L), steroids (L), triterpenoids (LSR). (23)
- Study f an EtOH extract of whole herb of P. virgatus isolated a new lignan, (−)-7,8-cis-8,8‘-trans-7‘,8‘- trans-7-(3,4-(methylenedioxy)phenyl)-7‘-(3‘,4‘-dimethoxyphenyl)-8,8‘-bis(methoxymethyl)tetrahydrofuran, named virgatusin (1), along with seven known lignans and indole-3-carboxylic acid. (24)

- Studies have shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, anthelmintic, antidiabetic, anti-hyperlipidemic, antifungal, hepatoprotective properties.

Parts used
Leaves, flowers, seeds.


- In the Philippines, the Manobos of Mindanao use decoction of leaves, flowers, and seeds for treatment of cancer. (33)
- Hindus
use equal parts of the fresh leaves, flowers, and fruit, and cumin seeds with sugar, made into an electuary for the cure of gonorrhea - a teaspoon is given twice daily.
- Bruised fresh leaves, mixed with buttermilk, used as a wash to cure itches in children.
- In Thailand, used for liver ailments, jaundice, diabetes, gonorrhea.
- In India, leaf juice used for jaundice and diabetes.
- In Chota Nagpur, roots is used as external application for mammary abscesses.
- In China, herb extract fed to children suffering from malnutrition due to worm infestation. (20)
- In India, the Gond tribe use the plant as antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. (20)
- In India, Bhils and its subtribes use aqueous extract of whole plant without fruit for fever: two teaspoons twice daily for 2-3 days. (28)
- In Vanuatu, roots used to facilitate childbirth. (29)

Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Phenolic Contents:
P. simplex ether extract showed significant concentration-dependent scavenging of DPPH, hydroxyl and superoxide radicals. It also showed significant inhibition of NO production and significant inhibition of carragennan-induced paw edema. Results show significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities which was attributed to its high phenolic content. (1) In this study, the highest percentage of DPPH radical scavenging activity was observed in gallic acid rich sub-fraction of P. virgatus. The gallic acid content may also be reason for its hepatoprotective activity. The higher bioactivities of P. virgatus compare to other herbaceous phyllanthus species and may be attributed to the antioxidant activity of gallic acid and other phenolics present. (21)
Anti-Diabetic / Antioxidant: Study of MeOH and aqueous fractions of PS demonstrated significant antioxidant and antidiabetic potential and suggest therapeutic value in diabetes and related complications. (2)
Anti-Cancer / Antioxidant / Roots and Rhizomes: Study of ethyl acetate and ethanolic extracts from the roots and rhizomes of P. simplex against DAL and EAC cell lines showed significant anti-cancer activity, with the alcoholic extract showing more cancer dead cells than the EA extract. (3)
Anthelmintic: Study showed the ethanolic extract was more potent than other extracts against Indian round worm Pheretima posthuma. The comparison drug was piperazine citrate. (5)
Anti-Inflammatory: Ethanolic and acetone extracts from the whole plant showed significant activity at the doses of 400 mg/K with inhibition of both acute and sub-acute anti-inflammatory models. (6)
Anti-HBV Effect: Study showed the water and alcohol extract of P. simplex had an inhibitory effect on the HBsAg. (7)
Antioxidant / α-Amylase Inhibitory Property / Antidiabetic: A methanol extract of P. virgatus exhibited strong antioxidant and oxidative DNA damage protective activity, correlating with its phenolic content. Also, the ME strongly inhibited the α-amylase activity. Results provide basis for the potential future use for the treatment and management of diabetes as well as related conditions of oxidative stress. (11)
Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity / Mitochondrial Effect: In a comparative study of three Phyllanthus species, the methanolic extract of P. virgatus showed the highest free radical scavenging activity and highest inhibition of peroxidation. Also, the extract showed the strongest cytotoxic effect to human hepatoma HepG2 cells. The extract impaired hepatic energy metabolism by acting as mitochondrial uncoupler and inhibitor of oxidative phosphorylation. The mitochondrial effects may be intimately involved in the cytotoxic action on HepG2 cells. (12)
Hepatoprotective / Cd2+-Induced Loss of Mitochondrial Membrane Potential: A methanol extract of P. virgatus was shown to block the collapse of mitrochondrial transmembrane potential induced by CdCl2 in a dose-dependent manner. Results postulate the extract may act by blocking Ca2+ uniporter to impeded Cd2+ influx into the mitochondria and/or by inhibiting Cd2+-induced PTP opening. (13)
Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of P. virgatus against CCl4 and paracetamol induced hepatotoxicity in male wistar rats. Results showed significant in-vivo/in-vitro antioxidant activity in different models and significant (p<0.01) hepatoprotective activity. (15) Study of methanolic extract at dose of 200 mg/kg showed significant decrease in levels of liver enzmes, suggesting hepatoprotective activity against CCl4 induced hepatocellular injury. Acute toxicity study showed no mortality at single doses of 1000 and 2000 mg/kg, with no signs of behavioral changes except for increase in urination, suggesting safe usage of the extract at doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg. (32)
Antidiabetic / Antihyperlipidemic / Antioxidative: Study evaluated a methanolic extract and its purified fractions on hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Results showed a strong anti-diabetic and hypolipidemic impact of the extract and fractions coupled with potent antioxidative property. (16)
Antianaphylactic / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of a hydroalcoholic extract of leaves on experimental anaphylactic conditions using passive cutaneous anaphylaxis on different rat models. Results showed a dose dependent beneficial effect on leakage of Evan blue dye in skin challenged with antigen. The antianaphylactic activity may be due to its membrane stabilizing potential, inhibition of antigen induced histamine release and inhibition of release of various inflammatory mediators. (17)
Virgatusin / Antifungal: (-)-Virgatusin is a lignan isolated from Phyllantus virgatus used as a herbal drug for liver problems. Study of optically pure (-) - and (+)-virgatusin, a tetra-substituted tetrahydrofuran lignan, showed high antifungal activity against Colletotrichum lagenarium. (18)
• Pharmacologic Effects of Major Phytochemicals: Phytochemical studies have yielded major phytochemicals with pharmacologic effects: Lignans: niranthin, nirtetralin, hinokinin (antiviral) and virgatusin (antibacterial); Ellagitannin: geraniin (antiviral). (20)
• Comparative Study on Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Activities / P. virgatus and P. amarus: Study evaluated the antioxidant activity and cytotoxicity of Phyllanthus virgatus crude extract compared to P. amarus. Antioxidant activity was measured by DPPH scavenging and antilipid peroxidation assays. Cytotoxicity was assessed on human hepatoma HepG2 cells. The extract of P. virgatus yielded more phenolic compounds than P. amarus. The hydromethanolic extract of P. virgatus showed stronger antioxidant and cytotoxic action than P amarus. The stimulation of HepG2 cell respiration by P. virgatus extract suggests the extract alters mitochondrial function, which may play a role in the plant's cytotoxicity. (22)
• Effect on Weed Species / Weed Control: Study evaluated the potential of allelochemicals from P. virgatus to inhibit plant germination and growth using 10 common weed species. An aqueous extract of P. virgatus (leaf/stem/fruit) was mixed with agar to produce a 5% FW/v substrate concentration. Seeds of Apium leptophyllum, Avena fatua, Bidens pilosa, Chenopodium album, Echinochloa crus-galli, Lolium rigidum, Parthenium hysterophorus, Raphanus raphanistrum, Sonchus oleraceous and Urochloa pannicoides were placed on agar and germinated under controlled conditions. Extract caused significant reduction in germination of some weed species. Shoot growth was significantly reduced in most weed species. Root growth was severely affected in all species that survival would have been unlikely if the extract environment was maintained. (25)
• Hypoglycemic Effect / P. virgatus and Juniperus phoenicea / Leaves: Study evaluated the antihyperglycemic effect of alcoholic extracts of P. virgatus and J phoenicea leaves in STZ-induced diabetic Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed the extracts at doses of 400 mg/kbw per day significantly improved lipid profile, decreased blood glucose and MDA, but increased levels of insulin, GSH, and SOD along with alleviation in histopathological changes in the pancreas of diabetic rats. Results suggest glucose lowering effects and potential for reduction of hyperglycemia-related complications. (26)
• Antibacterial / Shoots: P. virgatus ethanol extract of shoots showed potential antimicrobial activity against all four test pathogens viz., E. coli, Pseudomonas spp., S. aureus, and Klebsiella spp.; the methanol extract was more effective against S. aureus. (27)
• Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vitro antioxidant activities of ethanol extract of leaves of P. virgatus. Results showed dose dependent scavenging effect on DPPH, ABTS, reducing power, hydroxyl radical, NO, superoxide, lipid peroxidation, and H2O2 assays. (30)
• Antidiabetic / Antioxidant / Seeds: Study evaluated the antioxidant and antidiabetic potentials of seed extract of P


Updated August 2023 / May 2019 / April 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Phyllanthus virgatus Forst. f. / Photo / Contributed by Allon / QIN, Haining, et al (eds.), 2010, China Checklist of Higher Plants, In the Biodiversity Committee of Chinese Academy of Sciences ed., Catalogue of Life China: 2010 Annual Checklist China. CD-ROM; Species 2000 China Node, Beijing, China/ Click on image to go to source page / © Catalogue of Life: Higher Plants in China / CHF
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Phyllanthus virgatus / Fruiting stem / Murray Fagg /  Australian Plant Image Index / Non-commercial use / image modified / click on link or image to go to source page / Plants of South Eastern New South Wales

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Phytochemical analysis, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of Phyllanthus simplex / S Hemendram Chouhan H S, Singh S K / J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Oct 11;137(3): pp 1337-1344
Antidiabetic and antioxidant effect of various fractions of Phyllanthus simplex in alloxan diabetic rats / Jasemine Shabeer, Radhey Shyam Srivastava, Sushil Kumar Singh / Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Vol 124, No 1, 6 July 2009, Pp 34-38 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.04.015
COMPARATIVE EVALUATION OF IN VITRO ANTI CANCER ACTIVITY OF ETHYLACETATE AND ETHANOL EXTRACTS OF PHYLLANTHUS SIMPLEX Retz / Arasan Elayaraja, M Vijayalakshmi, and Devalarao Garikapati / An International Journal of Advances In Pharmaceutical Sciences. Vol.1 (1) Sep-Oct-2010
Studies on Chemical Contituents and Antibacterial Activities of Phyllanthus Simplex Retz / China Papers /
Anthelmintic screening of various crude extracts of Phyllanthus simplex Retz / Arasan Elayaraja, M Vijayalakshmi, and Devalarao Garikapati / Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, October – December 2010 RJPBCS
Anti-HBV Effect of Phyllanthus Simplex Extracts in Vivo and in Vitro
/ HUANG Zhengchang, DENG Xuelong, ZHU Yutong et al / JOURNAL OF GUANGZHOU UNIVERSITY OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE, 2000-03 / DOI: cnki:ISSN:44-1425.0.2000-03-022
Sorting Phyllanthus names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Phyllanthus virgatus G. Forst. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Chemical composition in the leaves of Phyllanthus simplex Retz. / Han Shu; Zhang Yun; Wang JunRu /
Journal Medicinal Plant 2012 Vol. 3 No. 3 pp. 21-22, 25
Antioxidant and α-Amylase Inhibitory Property of Phyllanthus virgatus L.: An In Vitro and Molecular Interaction Study / Arshya Hashim, M. Salman Khan, Mohd. Sajid Khan, Mohd. Hassan Baig, and Saheem Ahmad / BioMed Research International, Vol 2013,
Article ID 729393, / DOI: 10.1155/2013/729393 / PMID: 23957001
Cell death and impairment of mitochondrial functions induced by Phyllanthus virgatus: a comparison study / N Chudapongse, M Kamkhunthod, K Poompachee / lanta Med 2009; 75 - PE14 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1234575
Protective effect of Phyllanthus virgatus extract on Cd2+-induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential / Nuannoi Chudapongse, Matcha Kamkhunthod and Kanchana Poompachee / The FASEB Journal, 2007; 21:lb367
Phyllanthus virgatus / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
International Journal of Current Pharmaceutical & Clinical Research, Vol 5, Issue 2, 2015, pp 78-85.
Antianaphylactic Activity of Hydro Alcoholic Extract of Phyllanthus Virgatus Leaves / Y. Narasimha Rao*, M. Prasada Rao, K. Bhagyalakshmi, M. Srikanth / International Journal of PharmTech Research, Vol.8, No.7, pp 171-174, 2015
Antifungal Activity of Tetra-Substituted Tetrahydrofuran Lignan, (-)-Virgatusin, and Its Structure-Activity Relationship / Koichi Akiyama et al / Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., 71 (4), 1028-1035: 2007
Ethnobotanical Studies on Japali Hanuman Theertham- A / Sacred Grove of Tirumala hills, Andhra Pradesh, India. / N. Savithramma, P. Yugandhar* and M. Linga Rao / Pharm. Sci. & Res. Vol. 6(2), 2014, 83-88
An Overview of Important Ethnomedicinal Herbs of Phyllanthus Species: Present Status and Future Prospects / Bharti Sarin, Nidhi Verma, Juan PedroMartín, and AparajitaMohanty / The Scientific World Journal, Volume 2014, Article ID 839172 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/839172
Fractionation and identification of bioactive compound present in Phyllanthus virgatus extract / Chapter 6
Comparison of the Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Activities of Phyllanthus virgatus and Phyllanthus amarusExtracts / Poompachee K., Chudapongse N.  / Med Princ Pract., 2012; 21: pp 24–29  / https://doi.org/10.1159/000331596
PHYTOCHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF PHYLLANTHUS SPECIES (EUPHORBIACEAE) FROM EASTERN GHATS OF ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA / C. Lakshmi Narasimhudu and R.R.Venkata Raju / International Research Journal of Pharmacy, 2012; 3(5)
A New Lignan from Phyllanthus virgatus / Yu Lin Huang, Chien Chih Chen, Feng Lin Hsu, Chieh Fu Chen / J. Nat. Prod.1996; 59(5): pp 520-521 / https://doi.org/10.1021/np9603380
THE EFFECT OF Phyllanthus virgatus EXTRACT ON COMMON WEED SPECIES / S.M. Allan and S.W. Adkins / Pak. J. Weed Sci. Res., Oct 2012; 18: 7-11, Special Issue
Hypoglycemic Effect of Alcoholic Extracts of Phyllanthus virgatus and Juniperus Phoenicea L, on Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic in Male Rats / Maha Ahmed Al-Ahdab / Life Science Journal, 2017; 14(9)
STUDIES ON THE ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITIES OF THE SHOOT EXTRACTS OF PHYLLANTHUS SPECIES COMMONLY FOUND IN TAMILNADU. / C. Aarthi, Dr. P B Ranesh Babu / Journal of Innovative Research and Solutions (JIRAS), Jan-Jun 2017; 3(1): pp 66-76
Plants used for the treatment of different types of fevers by Bhils and its subtribes in India / Swati Samvatsar, V B Diwanji / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Jan 2004; 3(1): pp 96-100
Maternity and medicinal plants in Vanuatu I. The cycle of reproduction / G. Bourdy and A. Walter / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 1992; 37: pp 179-196
In vitro Antioxidant Activity of Ethanol Extract of Leaves of Phyllanthus virgatus / Uma V, Ruba P, Subramaniam P and Shabana Begum M / Indian Journal Of Natural Sciences ( IJONS), Dec 2015; 6(33)
Phyllanthus / Wikipedia
Hepatoprotective effect of methanolic extracts of Phyllanthus virgatus against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury in rats  / Chattu Maheswara Rao /  Research in Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 2016; 2(1): pp 1-7
ETHNOBOTANICAL PLANTS USED BY SELECTED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF MINDANAO, THE PHILIPPINES AS CANCER THERAPEUTICS  / Jayson R Pucot, Muhmin Michael E Manting, Cesar G Demayo /  Pharmacophore, 2019; 10(3): pp 61-69 / ISSN: 2229-5402

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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