This article summarizes current medical progress in the treatment of urinary stones (urolithiasis) using Phyllanthus niruri (stone-breaker or quebra-pedras.) P. niruri interferes with stone formation at many stages. It contains over 50 chemicals, including alkaloids, flavonoids, lignans, and triterpenes.
Crystals are seen in the urine of normal people. Under unknown conditions, the crystals start to clump together (aggregation.) Calcium oxalate crystals (CaOx,) the main ingredient of human urinary stones, can stick to the lining of the urinary tract and cause cell damage. The toxicity of calcium oxalate is inhibited by the triterpenes of P. niruri. They, also, inhibit the markers of crystal deposition in the urinary system.
Human urine contains CaOx crystals which clump in large crystals after 24 hours. When the human is treated with P. niruri, the crystals which form are not as large as in controls without treatment. There has been extensive testing of the effect of P. niruri on CaOx stones. Phyllanthus does not necessarily prevent the formation of stones, but, causes the stones to be smoother and easier to pass through the urinary system.
P. niruri extracts inhibit the xanthine oxidase enzyme. The result is reduced uric acid levels. Phyllanthus is a good antihyperuricemic (reducing blood uric acid levels) agent because of this inhibition and uricosuric activity. Phyllanthus’ lignans and phyllanthin increase the urinary excretion of uric acid in hyperuricemic rats.
Clinical benefits of P. niruri come from relaxation of the muscles of the ureter to make it easier for stones to be passed and for particles of stones to be released after lithotripsy (mechanical breaking of stones.) Alkaloids from Phyllanthus cause muscle relaxation of the urinary tract, potentially easing the passage of urinary stones. Phyllanthus reduces the elements that participate in stone formation.
A clinical study in which patients with stones concluded that P. niruri tea caused elimination of stones because of muscle relaxant effects. No toxic effects of P. niruri have been reported.
CONCLUSION: Phyllanthus niruri has uric acid reducing effects by blocking the xanthine oxidase enzyme and uricosuric effects. Current studies suggest the benefit of Phyllanthus niruri in the prevention of crystal aggregation and improved stone elimination.
NOTE: Read about the effects of Phyllanthus niruri and of Phyllanthus amaurus on lung cancer and on breast cancer.
Read about the use of citrus fruit beverages for kidney stones.