Phyllanthus niruri (Pn) is an herb from Brazil, belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family of plants, that is known to prevent the growth of calcium oxylate (CaOx) urinary stones. The present study of rats followed the progression of stones after a CaOx “seed stone” was placed in the urinary bladder. Treatment with Pn was started immediately in some of the rats and after a delay of 30 days in others. (Urinary stones can develop within 30 days.) The animals were sacrificed at 50 or 70 days.
Early treatment with Pn was shown to reduce the number and weight of the stones that resulted from the seed stones. If the Pn treatment was not started until after a delay, the sizes and the weights of the stones were not changed. The stones of Pn treated animals, however had a smoother appearance even though the treatment was delayed. The spicules on the stones were flattened and the surface of the stones was smoother with treatment.
The untreated animals showed a main stone with many satellite stones. After 50 days, the urinary stones were about 25 times as large as the original seed stones in the untreated animals.
Pn has not been reported to have toxicity and contains many chemicals, including alkaloids, flavonoids, lignans and triterpines. In the present study the treatment with Pn neither altered rat metabolism nor altered urinary contents in any negative way.
Pn reduces calcium in patients with high calcium blood levels (hypercalciuria), according to previous studies. Hypercalciuria can contribute to stone formation.
CONCLUSION: Phyllanthus niruri treatment seems to be therapeutic since it changes the size and shape of calcium oxylate urinary stones, makes the stones smoother and, most likely, easier to pass through the urinary system. Since Pn can prevent the growth of stones when given early it could serve well as a preventive measure. Pn seems to prevent stone formation before it starts and to aid the elimination of stones once they have formed.
NOTE: Read more about urinary stone related bone disease.
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