|Stone Breaker Quick Facts|
|Scientific Name:||Phyllanthus niruri|
|Origin||China, India and South/Central America|
|Shapes||Fruits capsule, very small, globose, smooth|
|Taste||Bitter, Astringent, sweet|
|Health benefits||Diabetes treatment, Gallstones and Kidney Stones, Anti-cancerous & Treat acute hepatitis B|
Stone breaker is an erect, slender, branched, annual herb that grows about 12 – 24 inches (30 – 60 cm) in height. The plant is found growing in degraded moist deciduous, forest plantations, plains, dry fields, roadsides, wastelands, forest margin and scrubby woods. The plant consists of taproot that is slender, wiry and is provided with fine secondary roots. The plant has cylindrical and hairless stem, on that continues, at the level of the leaves insertion, triangular stipules, acuminates and often cordated in the base. It exudes translucent latex when it is cut.
Leaves are simple, alternate, hairless and sub-sessiles, pale green above, with pinnated venation little visible. At the base of the petiole 2 stipulate threadlike reduced, of unequal length and fast blacks. The lamina is elliptic to elongated, long from 8 to 12mm and wide from 3 to 5mm, with round or blunt summit, sometimes briefly apiculated, the base rounded and in entire margin. Two faces are hairless.
Solitary minute flowers are unisexual. Female flowers axillaries in the base of twigs, the male flowers regrouped by 2 – 4 in the axils of leaves in the top of twigs. Female flowers in peduncle 2mm long, with 5 sepals. Disc is flattened, small, with 5 lobes. Ovary is spherical surmounted of a short trifid style. Male flowers in hail peduncle, 0,5mm long, with 5 elliptic sepals and 3 welded stamens.
Fruit is a capsule dehiscent in 3 cells with 2 seeds each. The capsule is globose, depressed, and smooth, 2mm in diameter, that appears to the face lower of twigs. Seeds are wedge-shaped, one concave and two flat sides, beige, 1mm in height.
Although considered a problematic weed for farmers it is a valuable medicinal for herbalists (Oudhia and Tripathi 2002) and holds a reputed position in both Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine. Recently it has attracted the attention of researchers, because of its hepato-protective properties. No effective specific therapy is available for viral epatitis but P. niruri has shown clinical efficacy in viral Hepatitis B. Its root, leaves, fruits, milky juice, and whole plants are used as medicine.
According to Unani system of medicine herb is stomachic and good for sores and useful in chronic dysentery. Fruits useful for tubercular ulcers, wounds, sores, scabies and ring worm. The fresh root is believed to be an excellent remedy for jaundice. A poultice of the leaves with salt cures scabby affection and without salt applied on bruise and wounds. The milky juice is a good application to offensive sores. The infusion of the root and leaves is a good tonic and diuretic when taken cold in repeated doses. In many parts of India, it is commonly used for the treatment of snake bite. The plant is used as a fish poison. In many parts of India especially in deserts, the roots mixed with Commiphora mukul are given to camels to cure indigestion. The decoction of leaves and stem are used for dyeing cotton black.
Health benefits of Stone breaker
Stone breaker has a long history in traditional herbal medicine in every tropical country it is found in. For hundreds of years P. niruri has been used as an herbal remedy to kidney stones, viral infections, liver disorders, bacterial infections, and many other ailments. In more recent years, however, P. niruri has been shown in modern medicine to cure or treat multiple disorders. Listed below are few of the health benefits of using stonebreaker herb
1. Antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal
Chanca piedra is also known for its traditional use against parasites, bacterial, viral and fungal infection. This chanca piedra use was also supported by a few medical publications. Research found chanca piedra beneficial in treating chickenpox, vaginal yeast infections and pulmonary tuberculosis.
Another study that tested chanca piedra antibacterial activity, found it to be effective against H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) bacteria, without affecting beneficial lactic acid bacteria. The significance of this finding is that unlike antibiotics that kill both good and bad bacteria, chanca piedra was able to selectively fight H. pylori without killing the good bacteria.
Chanca piedra also showed significant antibacterial activity against the pathogenic bacteria Bacillus pumilus, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia as well as antifungal activity against candida albicans. (1), (2), (3)
2. Diabetes treatment
P. niruri displays evidence of anti-diabetic activity. Research conducted by Dr. Charles Okoli and his associates, used lab rats for test. Diabetic rats were treated with aerial extracts of Stonebreaker and as a result the rats’ blood glucose levels decreased, as well as their glucose absorption and storage. While it’s not know for sure if P. niruri caused these results, these findings suggest the lowered blood glucose levels were caused by the aerial extracts of P. niruri. As a result, Stonebreaker is known to be anti-diabetic.
Phyllanthus niruri and other phyllanthus species help prevent the metastasis of some lung and breast cancers. Research showed that the polyphenols in the herb help prevent the invasion, migration, and adhesion of cancer cells.
A 2012 research on human colorectal and liver cancer cell lines also found that phyllanthus niruri helped slow cancer cell growth and encouraged cancer cell death.
4. Gallstones and Kidney Stones
Chanca Piedra has been used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon for generations to support the elimination of gallstones and kidney stones. In Ayurvedic medicine, chanca piedra is thought to hold the most promise against kidney stone formation. Although long-term randomized clinical trials are essential to confirm therapeutic properties, some preliminary studies suggest chanca piedra may discourage in the gallbladder and kidneys and, indeed, have potential to provide defense against kidney stones.
Chanca piedra has a known traditional use for inflammation and pain. Multiple published research have shown chanca piedra anti-inflammatory effect for ulcer protection, ulcerative colitis and relieving sore throat pain due to tonsil inflammation. (4), (5), (6)
6. Action against Harmful Organisms
Water extracts of chanca piedra are selectively toxic to some types of harmful organisms, without affecting beneficial organisms. The Universidad de la República researched 28 plant and algae species for activity against harmful organisms. Researchers noted that the most interesting activity was observed in chanca piedra. This observation and conclusion was duplicated by researchers at the University of Malaysia.
7. Treat acute hepatitis B
Phyllanthus niruri help treat acute hepatitis B infections due to its anti-viral and liver-protecting abilities.
In a 2010 study, 60 people with the condition received either a placebo or a product made of seven herbal medicines including 100 milligrams of phyllanthus niruri. The herbal medicine group experienced faster recovery than the placebo group. However, they reported side effects like upper abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Phyllanthus niruri may not help chronic hepatitis B, though. A 2011 review of 16 randomized trials on people with chronic hepatitis B didn’t find any significant evidence in support of the treatment.
8. Antioxidant Activity
Chanca piedra has been evaluated for antioxidant activity and its response to high blood pressure and high blood sugar. The high phenolic content of chanca piedra has shown antioxidant activity, which has been found to support balanced blood sugar and normal blood pressure This has created excitement about the potential of chanca piedra during times of distress. In one study researchers noted that chanca piedra engages an enhanced antioxidant defense system.
9. Liver Health
Traditional Chinese medicine has always mentioned chanca piedra as an herb that supports liver health. The Department of Chemistry at Bose Institute in India conducted an animal research that investigated the liver protecting action of chanca piedra against acetaminophen toxicity. Results showed that a protein in chanca piedra protects liver tissues against oxidative stress, probably by increasing antioxidant defenses. Study results from the Patel Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research suggest compounds in chanca piedra may be a valuable component to a multi-herb, liver-support formulation.
Traditional uses and benefits of Stone breaker
- Decoction with honey is used as a cough medicine.
- Ayurvedic experts use this plant for treating stomach, genitourinary system, liver, kidney and spleen.
- It has anti-hepatitis B properties and it is also used for treating kidney stones.
- It can cure liver diseases, lower the cholesterol, reduces growth of hepatitis B virus, has antifungal, antiviral, liver cirrhosis, diuretic, stomachic, Menorrhagia, Leucorrhea, remove toxins, hypertension, anemia, leprosy, ringworm and menstrual problems.
- Root extracts are used in massage oils, body lotions and hair oil.
- Regular use of a small portion of the leaf helps to increase immunity power drastically.
- It helps in improving the quality of bile and improves bile production and helps in digestion.
- It helps to eliminate gall stones, kidney stones and cure liver hepatitis along with other herbs like Bhringraj, Kalmegh, Kaasni.
- It helps to improve the immunity and therefore useful in recurrent respiratory tract infections, asthma, Tonsillitis in children.
- It helps in limiting the growth of hepatitis B virus found in the blood stream.
- It is said to be used in the case of anorexia.
- It is diuretic and hence is used in urinary tract infections and bacterial infections like cyctitis and protastitis.
- Infusion of the root and leaves is a good tonic and diuretic when taken cold in repeated doses.
- Poultice of the leaves with salt cures scabby disorder of the skin.
- Poultice can also be applied on a bruise and wound without salt.
- Fresh root is believed to be an excellent remedy for jaundice.
- Milky juice of the plant is a good remedy to apply on offensive skin sores.
- According to Unani system of medicine, the herb is a stomachic and is useful in chronic dysentery.
- Fruits of the plant are useful for tubercular ulcers, wounds, sores, scabies and ring worm.
- Decoction of the whole plant is a very good remedy against malarial fever.
- It can be used to increase the appetite and locally to relieve inflammations.
- Infusion of young shoots is an effective cure to treat dysentery.
- Fresh juice of the whole plant along with clarified butter is very effective in the treatment of Menorrhagia, Leucorrhea and Gonorrhea.
- Consuming a spoon of fresh juice from the plant, along with sugar and jira, helps to mitigate pain in urination.
- Whole plant also contains potassium. Regular intake of a small quantity of leaves in the morning on an empty stomach helps to get rid of the toxins.
- Tuberculosis can also be controlled by using this herb.
- Juice of the plant is effective dressing for offensive sores.
- Juice is mixed with oil and used for treating conjunctivitis and eye inflammation.
- Young leaves are used for milder forms of intermittent fevers.
- Leaves are boiled in milk and are given in dropsical disorders and urinary complaints.
- Poultice of leaves are prepared with rice water and applied to ulcers or edematous swelling.
- It is used for treating itch, scabies and other skin diseases.
- Fresh roots along with rice water are given in menorrhagia (excessive profuse discharge of menses or its prolongation).
- Leaves were crushed with salt and applied for skin diseases.
- Plant decoction was very effective for diabetes and chest pain.
- Decoction of leaves or roots is used for ulcers.
- Dried powder of the plant mixed with gruel water is applied over ulcers and wounds.
- In Unani medicine the roots of this plant are used for the remedy of liver diseases.
- Seeds were used in the treatment of ulcers, wounds and scabies& ring worms.
Ayurvedic Health benefits of Stonebreaker
- Skin Diseases: Grind Stonebreaker leaves to make a paste. Add 4 g of common salt in one tsp of the paste. Apply the mixture over the affected area. It provides relief from skin heat, swelling and itching.
- Jaundice: Extract juice of the Stonebreaker plant by crushing it. Drink 20 ml of it thrice a day. OR Grind roots of Stonebreaker to make a paste. Take half tsp of it with warm milk in the morning.
- Leucorrhoea: Consume 40 ml juice of Stonebreaker plant in the morning.
- Diabetes: Prepare a decoction of Stonebreaker herb in one cup of water. Strain and drink 20 ml of this decoction daily. It helps to reduce the blood glucose levels.
- Aphthous ulcers: Make a decoction with leaves and roots of Stonebreaker plant. Gargle with it.
- Wound: Crush dried seeds of Stonebreaker and add water to make a paste. Apply it on the wounds. This remedy is effective for Scabies and ringworms.
- Fever: Prepare a decoction of Stonebreaker leaves. Take 2 tsp thrice a day.
- Dysentery: Collect new shoots of Stonebreaker plant. Prepare an infusion. Have one tbsp thrice a day.
- Heavy Menstrual bleeding: Squeeze out the juice of Stonebreaker plant. Have 4 tbsp juice with Clarified butter (ghee) in the morning and at bed time.
- Gonorrhea: Drink 50 ml juice of Stone breaker with clarified butter in an empty stomach.
- Liver Diseases: Stonebreaker is effective in case of fatty liver. Consume 40 g of Stonebreaker herb once a day.
- Scabies: Crush the dried seeds of Stonebreaker and add water to make a paste. Apply it over the affected area.
- Ringworm: Stonebreaker seed is effective in case of ringworm. Make a paste of dried Stonebreaker seed powder with water. Apply it on the affected area.
- Antispasmodic: Stonebreaker leaves and stems contain Alkaloid Phyllanthosid which possess Antispasmodic property. Prepare a decoction of Stonebreaker leaves and stems in one cup of water. Strain and drink it.
- Urinary Tract infections: Make a paste of Conch grass with Stone breaker in 2:1 ratio. Drink with one cup butter milk in the morning.
How to Consume Stone breaker
Stonebreaker is used chiefly for its medicinal properties, and it is not consumed as a food.
Main preparations: Capsules, decoction, infusion
- Capsules: Taking stonebreak in this supplemental form is widely preferred to obtain all its medicinal properties avoiding its naturally bitter flavor.
- Decoction: When the aerial parts of the plant are boiled, the concentrated liquid can be taken to aid the elimination of stones and manage the symptoms of gout.
- Infusion: Stonebreaker can be brewed into a warm tisane to be taken throughout the day in order to reduce uric acid and prevent the formation of stones.
Process of making stone breaker (chanca piedra) herb Tea
You can easily brew your own chanca piedra tea at home if you can get your hands on the ingredients!
- Step 1: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil on the stove.
- Step 2: Add 1 tablespoon of chanca piedra tea leaves to an infuser or teapot.
- Step 3: Pour the hot water over the tea leaves and allow steeping for 15 minutes.
- Step 4: Strain the tea leaves and serve hot.
- Step 5: You may add honey or lemon, for flavor, if desired.
Note: You should drink 1 cup 2-3 times each day to remedy an acute problem with kidney stones.
- Decoction of the leaves and stem together can be used to dye cotton black.
- It is also used to help catch fish.
- In desert regions, it is administered to camels to relieve their indigestion.
- In India, P. niruri is most frequently reported in rice, maize, cassava, sorghum and in dry land crops. It is also a serious weed of beans.
- In Bangladesh and India it is reported as a common weed of sugarcane and jute.
- In Nepal it is reported as a weed of rice fields and sugarcane.