Nutritional Supplement


Parts Used & Where Grown

Phyllanthus is an herb found in central and southern India. It can grow from 30–60 centimeters in height and blooms with many yellow flowers. Phyllanthus species are also found in other countries, including China (e.g., Phyllanthus urinaria), the Philippines, Cuba, Nigeria, and Guam.1All parts of the plant are used medicinally.

How It Works

Phyllanthus primarily contains lignans (e.g., phyllanthine and hypophyllanthine), alkaloids, and flavonoids (e.g., quercetin).

Phyllanthus blocks DNA polymerase, the enzyme needed for the hepatitis B virus to reproduce. In one study, 59% of those infected with chronic viral hepatitis B lost one of the major blood markers of HBV infection (e.g., hepatitis B surface antigen) after using 900 mg of phyllanthus per day for 30 days.2 While clinical trials on the effectiveness of phyllanthus for HBV have been mixed, the species P. urinaria and P. niruri seem to work better than P. amarus.3 Clinical trials with hepatitis B patients have used 900–2,700 mg of phyllanthus per day.


1. Bharatiya VB. Selected Medicinal Plants of India. Bombay: Tata Press, 1992, 235-7.

2. Thyagarajan SP, Subramanian S, Thirunalasundar T, et al. Effect of Phyllanthus amarus on chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus. Lancet 1988:2:1017-8.

3. Wang M, Cheng H, Li Y, et al. Herbs of the genus Phyllanthus in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B: observations with three preparations from different geographical sites. J Lab Clin Med 1995;126:350-2.

4. Santos AR, Filho VC, Yunes RA, et al. Analysis of the mechanisms underlying the antinociceptive effects of extracts of plants from the genus Phyllanthus. Gen Pharmacol 1995;26:1499-506.

5. Cechinel Filho V, Santos AR, De Campos RO, et al. Chemical and pharmacological studies of Phyllanthus caroliniensis in mice. J Pharm Pharmacol 1996;48:1231-6.

6. Miguel OG, Calixto JB, Santos Ar, et al. Chemical and preliminary analgesic evaluation of geraniin and furosin isolated from Phyllanthus sellowianus, Planta Med 1996;62:146-9.

7. Syamasundar KV, Singh B, Thakur RS, et al. Antihepatotoxic principles of Phyllanthus niruri herbs. J Ethnopharmacol 1985;14:41-4.

8. Nadkarmi KM. India Materia Medica, vol 1. Bombay: Popular Prakashan Private Ltd., 1993, 947-8.

9. Reichert R. Phytotherapeutic alternatives for chronic hepatitis. Quart Rev Natural Med 1997;Summer:103-8.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.