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YOU & YOUR HEALTH: Phyllantus Amarus: A Better Chemist

Phyllantus Amarus is a small erect annual herb that grows 30-40cm in height. It is Indigenous to many countries like Bahamas, South India, China, Nigeria, Brazil and other African countries. It grows profusely wherever it is found.
It has been called many names apart from phyllantus, each name given to it by any tribes is related to its stone breaking qualities, but has also been given some names showing its ability to break and handle Immune diseases, Infections, pains, gynecological problems and others. Phyllantus has been employed in many countries in numerous conditions like, colic, diabetes malaria, typhoid, dysentery, fever, flu, tumors, jaundice, virginities, gonorrhea, and dyspepsia. Based on its long documented history of use in those regions, the plant is generally employed to reduce pain, expel intestinal gas, to stimulate and promote digestion. It also used to expel worms and serves as a mild laxative
Phyllantus has a long history in herbal medicine in every tropical country where it grows. It is used in many types of biliary and urinary conditions including kidney and gallbladder stones, hepatitis tuberculosis and other viral infection, anemia, liver cancer, prostates, venereal diseases and urinary track infections had been treated with phyllatus.
It is a pity how we have left our health in the hands of those whose only concern is looking at a disease condition from one view point, without considering and giving attention to all parts or aspect of human existence.
Since the mid-60s, this plant has been the subject of much phytochemical research to determine the active constituents and their pharmacological activities. It is a rich source of plant chemicals and many of the active properties are attributed to biologically active lignans, glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, ellegitanns and phenylpropanoids found in the leaf, stem and root of this wonder plant.
The main plant chemical in phyllantus amarus includes alkaloids, astragalin, brevifolin, carboxylic acids, carilagin, cymenem allagic acids, ellegitamins gallocatechins, geranium, hypophyllantins, lignas, lintetralins, lupeols, methyl salicytate, niranthin, nirtetralin, niruretin, nirurin, nirurine, niruriside, norsecurinines, phyllanthin, phyllanthine, phyllanthenol, phyllochrysine, phyltetralin, repandusinic acids, quercetin, quercitrinm quercetol, quercitrin, rutin, suponinsm triacontanal and tricontanol.
It is little wonder that a small plant like phyllantus is used for many purposes in herbal medicinal system in all parts of the world. In clinical research over the years, the plant has demonstrated liver protective antilithic (expels stones), pain-relieving, hypertensive, antispasmodic, antiviral, antibacterial, diuretic, anti mutagenic and hypoglycemic activities.
The Pualista school of medicine in Sao Paulo, Brazil, conducted studies with human and rats with kidney stones, they were given a simple tea of phyllantus for 1 3 months and it was reported that the promoted the elimination of stones, they also reported a significant increase in urine output as well as sodium and creatine excretion, this prompted doctors to use this natural remedy in healing and eliminating stones both in the kidney and gallbladder. The extraction of this plant exhibited the ability to block the formation of calcium oxalate crystals (the building blocks of most kidney stones)
The plants traditional use for hypertension has been explored by researchers as well as where it was used on dogs in 1952. the hypertensive effects were attributed to a specific phytochemical in the plant called geraniin in a 1988 study. In 1995 Indian researchers gave human subjects with high blood pressure phyllantus powder in capsules and reported a significal reduction in systolic blood pressure. In the above 1995 study, researchers also reported that blood sugar levels were reduced significantly in human subjects studied, yet another study documented this plant with Aldose Reductase Inhibition (ARI) properties. Aldose reductase are substances that act on nerve endings exposed to high blood sugar concentration and can lead to diabetic neurapathy and macular degeneration; substances which inhibit these substances can prevent some of the chemical in balances that occur and this protective nerve chemical is called ellagic acid.
Another area of research has focused on the pain-relieving effects of phyllantus amarus performed at a Brazilian University, three out of the six works published reported a strong and dose-dependent pain-relieving effects in nice given extracts of the plant. In 1996 they isolated the plant hypertensive chemical geraniin and reported that it was seven time more potent as a pain-reliever than aspirin or acetaminophen; many more studies have been carried out since the era and the geraniin plant chemical has been reported to inhibit several neurotransmitter processes that relay and receive pain signals in the brain, unlike aspirin which can harm the mucosal lining of the stomach and cause ulcers, geraniin has been reported to have anti ulcerous properties and to protect the gastric tract instead. This pain-relieving effect is probably why so many people taking phyllantus for kidney stone (a very painful affair) report such quick relief and long before it could actually break down and expel a stone.
The liver-protecting activity of phyllantus is another subject which has been established with clinical research with animal and humans. These effects have been attributed to at least two novel plant chemical in phyllantus named phyllanthin and hypothyllanthin. The cholesterol-lowering effects also protects liver damage induced by alcohol and normalizes fatty liver; this indicate how the extracts of this plant protects and detoxifies the livers in people with hepatis and has liver function return to normal within five days, we eat, drink and cook with materials that has carcinogenic properties, the plant phyllantus amarus is one of the herbs that must be considered because its ability to prevent and also slow the growth of cancer cells/tumers has been recorded, but it must be stressed again that our lifestyles today has contributed immensely to the growth of this dreaded disease.
Hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of liver cancer worldwide, carries of hepatitis B are 200 times more likely to develop liver cancer decades after initial infection and it is a known fact that this disease is more infections than HIV; this has increased the annual death rate from liver cirrhosis and cancer
We cannot claim or say that HIV is not curable but the anti-retroviral properties in this plant have proved its efficacy in reducing virus. Many researches have been carried out with phyllantus and other plants in the treatment and management of this dreaded disease.
Phyllantus amarus, is a perfect example of a highly beneficial medicinal plant, it is yet another perfect example that mother-nature is infinitely a better chemist; the natural herbs will continue to work better than any man-made chemically-altered extract.
We cannot over-emphasize the numerous use of this plant but will stand to say that the use of this plant may be the answer to most questions we have asked without solution in the health-care services.

Dr. Tonifelix C. Manu

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