Monday, December 1, 2008

Phyllanthus amarus SCHUM. & THENN.

Family : Euphorbiaceae

Synonym(s) : Phyllanthus nanus, Phyllanthus niruri

English Name : Phyllanthus, Six o'clock, Sleeping plant


It is an annual, glabrous herb grows up to 15 to 60 cm high. Has an errect stem, naked below and slender and spreading leaf branches above. Leaves are numerous, subsessile, pale green, often distichously imbricating, glaucous below, elliptic to oblong, obtuse, and stipules subulate. Flowers arise in leaf axis, very numerous, males 1-3 and females solitary. Sepels of male orbicular and obovate to oblong in females. Stamens 3, anthers sessile and in a short column. Disc of male minute glands and of females annular and lobed. Capsules depressed globose, smooth and hardly 3 lobed. Seeds are 3-gonous, rounded and with longitudinal regular parallel ribes on the back.


Common in cultivated fields; warmer areas of India.

Parts Used : Root, leaf and plant

Herb Effects

The plant is bitter, astringent, stomachic, diuretic, febrifuge and antiseptic. antiulcerative; antihepatotoxic, antiviral, antibacterial and kills molluscs (root and leaf); lowers blood sugar (leaf); antidropsical, astringent and diuretic.

Active Ingredients

Phyllanthin, niranthin, hypophyllanthin, phyltetralin and nirtetralin (leaf); amariin, corilagin, geraniin, rutin, 1.6-digalloyl-glucopyranoside and quercetin-3-O-glucopyranoside (plant).

Medicinal Use

Jaundice and liver diseases, diabetes, influenza, asthma, infections of the bronchial tubes, indigestion, colic, dropsy, disorders of the urogenital system and kidney, chronic dysentery, dyspepsia, cough, asthma, indigestion, diabetes, urinary tract diseases, skin diseases, ulcer, sores, gonorrhoea, menorrhagia and other genital affections (plant); dysentery and ulcers (shoots and leaves); for jaundice (fresh root) .

Infusion or weak decoction: 1-3 cups are taken daily.
Fluid extracts: 2-6 ml are taken 2-3 times daily.
Tablets: 2-3 g twice daily can be substituted if desired.


It may increase the effect of diabetic, high blood pressure, and diuretic drugs. Avoid during pregnancy.

  1. Chandel et al., Biodiversity in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India.

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