Common Name : Chanca Piedra / Amla
Plant Parts Used : Dried fruit, The nut or seed, Leaves, Bark and Flowers, Ripe fruits
The Phyllanthus Niruri tree is a deciduous, small or middle-sized, with a crooked trunk, and spreading branches, leaves, subsessile 10-13 by 2.5-8 mm closely set along the branchlets, distichous, light-green, glabrous, narrowly linear obtuse, imbricate when young. Flowers greenish yellow in axillary, fascicles on the leaf-hearing branchlets often on the naked portion below the leaves.Fruit 1.3-1.6 em, fleshy, glabrous and pale yellow of three 2 seeded crustaceous cocci.
Characteristics and Constituents :
The fruit is a rich source of ascorbic acid-Vitamin C. Ten gms of fresh fruits contain 600-900 mg of Vitamin C3. The small fruit variant contains more Vitamin C than the large variant. According to recent work fruits lose Vitamin C more when dried in the sun than in the shade. Ellagic acid is present in bark.
Actions and Uses of Phyllanthus Niruri / Chanca Piedra :
Alcoholic extract of the plant (1 gm/kg) has shown an increase in the cardiac glycogen and a decrease in serum GOT, GPT and LDH in isoprotenol pretreated rats, suggesting a cardio- protective action. It showed a reduction in serum cholesterol levels and a significant antiatherogenic effect. This study suggests that Vitamin C content alone may not he responsible for the antiatherogenic effect of the plant in animals.
The fruit of P. emblica is commonly used as a tonic especially in winter season in India. The leaf is used in conjunctivitis, bronchitis and leueorrhoea. The juice of the fresh bark with honey and turmeric is given in urinary infections. The leaves are used as an infusion with fenugreek seeds in cases of chronic dysentery and are also considered a bitter tonic. The milk juice is considered a good application on offensive sores. In Cambodia the leaves are used in the preparation of antithermic lotion and baths and the decoction of the roots is given in myalgia following some febrile conditions. It has no antidotal action against snake-bite and scorpion sting. P. emblica (Amalaki Rasayana) is useful in both acid-peptic ulcer and non-ulcer dyspepsia. It is considered as one of the foremost asayana drugs imparting a long healthy life and weight gain. Improved haematological picture and diminished E.S.R. are also observed. The dried fruit powder is applied to hair and skin for increasing hair growth and lustre.
The drug is not reported to have any side effects even after prolonged use. The results with large doses in animals reveal that atropinization completely blocked the hypotension in dogs and spasmogenic effect on rabbit ileum.