Diệp Hạ Châu is the common name of two plants of Phyllanthus niruri and Phyllanthus amarus belong to family group of Euphorbiaceae. Some international scientists reported that there aren’t any difference between the two plants founded, because active elements from the two plants are similar.
According to a study from Vietnam Medicine Institute (1987-2000), both of Phyllanthus genes exist in Vietnam and contain flavonoid, tanin and organic acid. In fact, scientists believe that they are the same plant, just with two different names.
The name Diệp Hạ Châu means “pearls beneath leaves”, because there are fruits look like pearl (Châu) emerge beneath (Hạ) their leaves (Diệp). There is also folklore name Mother Dog, because it was found that after birth, the mother dog usually find this plant to eat. In Vietnam, there are also many other local names such as Cam Kiềm, Cỏ Trân Châu, Rút Đất, Diệp Hòa Thái…
Distributive regions of Diệp Hạ Châu is large relatively, planted wildly in Vietnam and in many countries such as India, China, Cuba, Peru, Nigeria, Malaysia, the Philippines, Guam, Brazil etc, ...
Diệp Hạ Châu has been used as a medicine for 2000 years. According to Trung Quốc Cao Đẳng Thực vật Đồ Giám Bản (1972) (Text book of medicinal vegetable of China), Diệp Hạ Châu is used for liver and eye advantage, liquid flow, easy to digest to stomach. According to studies in Vietnam and and also many other countries, and experiences from different peoples over the world, there are some main uses as follow:
This is one of the most important interests of Diệp Hạ Châu. Headlines has caught the attention of the world on the effects of anti-hepatitis B virus by this medicine. The clinical trials on children with infectious hepatitis by a Phyllanthus niruri preparations from India resulted potentially. After 30 days taking Phyllanthus niruri (900 mg/day) 50% of the infectious factors in the blood of hepatitis B virus (surface antigen of hepatitis B) have lost. Diệp Hạ Châu (Phyllanthus niruri) gives good result for hepatitis B patients, who taking 900 - 2.700mg for 3 consecutive months. According to a study in Japan and India in 1980, has defined the therapeutic effect of liver disease by Diệp Hạ Châu, is because of Phyllanthin, Hypophyllathin and Triacontanal. Wang Shinhua (Quangzhou China Chinese Medicine University), compared 30 patients treated by Diệp Hạ Châu in 6 months with 25 patients using Interferon, has reported that: In Vietnam, a lot of studies on the effect of treatment of hepatitis by Diệp Hạ Châu have been carried, such as: the team leaded by Le Vo Dinh Tuong (Military Medical Academy - 1990 to 1996) have been successful with preparation Hepamarin from Phyllanthus amarus; studied team leaded by Trần Danh Việt, Nguyễn Thượng Dong (Institute of Medicine) with flour Phyllanthin (2001).
Effects on the immune system:
In 1992, Japanese scientists have explored the effect of inhibiting the development of HIV-1 by liquid Phyllanthus niruri through inhibition replication of the HIV virus. In 1996, the Pharmaceutical Research Institute of Bristol Myezs Squibb has also extracted from Diệp Hạ Châu an active element with the same effect and named it as “Nuruside”.
The Vietnam, India, China used Diệp Hạ Châu to treat evidences such as pointed acne, sores, snake bites, worms. The Java, India used to treat gonorrhea. According to Malaysian folklore, Diệp Hạ Châu can be used to treat inflammation of the skin, urinary tract infections, syphilis etc ... study at the Institute of Medicine - Vietnam (1987-2000) shows that 10-50g dose/kg Diệp Hạ Châu has superior anti-inflammatory effects in mice.
Treatment of gastrointestinal diseases:
The medicinal plant is capable to stimulate appetite, stimulate flatus. The Indians used to treat hepatitis, jaundice, dysentery, constipation, typhoid disease, colitis. Haiti inhabitants, Java uses the medicinal plant to treat stomach pain, digestive disorders, ...
The Indiansused Diệp Hạ Châu to treat cough, bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis, ...
Kenneth Jones, a Brazilian scientists have explored a real and long analgesic effect of some Phyllanthus species, including Diệp Hạ Châu - Phyllanthus niruri. Analgesic effect of Diệp Hạ Châu is more effective 04 times than Indomethacin and 03 times than Morphin. This effect is defined that it thanks to gallic acid, ethyl ester and steroid mixture (beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol) in Diệp Hạ Châu.
In some countries, traditional medical doctors have used Diệp Hạ Châu as a diuretic, edema one treatment. In Vietnam, Diệp Hạ Châu was used earliest at Hanoi Traditional Medicine Institute (1967) in the treatment of cirrhotic ascites. A study by Pharmacy University of Santa Catarina (Brazil 1984) have explored an alkaloid from Diệp Hạ Châu (Phillanthoside), that is effective against muscle spasms, which is the reason for scientists explain the effect of treatment on kidney, gallstones by this medicine.
Blood sugar reducing effect by Diệp Hạ Châu (Phillanthus niruri) has been confirmed in 1995, blood sugar was significantly reduced in patients with diabetes, taking this medication for 10 days.
Some other uses:
According to some South American Peoples, Diệp Hạ Châu was used to treat for gout, malaria, flu, prostate fibroma, menstrual disorders etc ... Some regions use for milk-flow for breastfeeding women.
Up to now: Studies on side effects caused by Diệp Hạ Châu shown that: There isn’t any toxicity except symptom, which causes cramps during drug use. If cramps occurred, have to reduce ½ treatment dose. Scientists have not found any interaction of Diệp Hạ Châu with other drugs yet. So, it is possible to use Diệp Hạ Châu long time to restore and improve healthy liver function and detoxification.
Although there aren't any reports about side effect on pregnant woman. Diệp Hạ Châu on pregnant woman during early stage.
The Vietnamese market have a lot of products used to treat hepatitis such as tea bag, capsule, tablet sugared etc, ... from both of domestic and foreign manufactures, so patients easily to choose what are suitable one. Almost raw materials for the manufacture of medicine, are from wild sources, as you know, a medicinal plant that grows in different geographical areas, may have different treatment effects. Ideally, consumers should choose products of legal origin, with the registration by authority.