What are the Benefits of Chanca Piedra?

Chanca Piedra

Chanca piedra, or phyllanthus niruri, is a well known plant from the Amazon rainforest that has given naturopaths a powerful plant ally in supporting bladder, kidney, gallbladder, and liver health. Traditionally, chanca piedra is thought of as a health supplement that promotes the liver’s normal function by aiding the detoxification efforts that purge harmful substances.

Chanca Piedra, 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. [1] Although longer-term randomized clinical trials are necessary to confirm therapeutic properties, some preliminary studies suggest chanca piedra may indeed have potential to provide defense against kidney stones. [2] This may be due to reducing the formation of obstructions in the gallbladder and kidneys. A 2002 study in India found that Chanca Piedra helps to increase bile secretion of the liver. Extra bile helps the digestion process, this benefits nutrient absorption and waste elimination.

Chanca Piedra and the Liver

Traditional Chinese medicine has always cited chanca piedra as an herb for liver problems. [3] In a test involving mice, The Department of Chemistry at Bose Institute in India investigated the liver protecting action of chanca piedra against acetaminophen toxicity and their results showed that a protein in chanca piedra protected liver tissues against oxidative stress, probably by increasing antioxidative defenses. [4] Study results from the Patel Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research suggest compounds in chanca piedra may be a valuable component to a multiple herb, liver-protection formulation. [5]

Antioxidant Activity of Chanca Piedra

Chanca piedra has repeatedly been successfully texted for antioxidant activity and 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 optimal blood pressure levels. [6] [7] [8] This has some excited about the effect of chanca piedra during times of distress. In one study, when put to the test against chemically induced skin tumors, researchers noted that chanca piedra engages an enhanced antioxidant defense system. [9]

Actions Against Harmful Organisms

Water extracts of chanca piedra have shown toxic activity against strains of harmful organisms, without affecting beneficial organisms. [10] The Universidad de la República studied 28 plant and algae species for activity against harmful organisms. Researchers noted that the most interesting activity was observed in chanca piedra. [11] This observation and conclusion was duplicated by researchers at the University of Malaysia. [12]

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Kieley S, Dwivedi R, Monga M. Ayurvedic medicine and renal calculi. J Endourol. 2008 Aug;22(8):1613-6. doi: 10.1089/end.2008.0020.
  2. Boim MA, Heilberg IP, Schor N. Phyllanthus niruri as a promising alternative treatment for nephrolithiasis. Int Braz J Urol. 2010 Nov-Dec;36(6):657-64; discussion 664. Review.
  3. Wang BE. Treatment of chronic liver diseases with traditional Chinese medicine. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2000 May;15 Suppl:E67-70.
  4. Bhattacharjee R, Sil PC. The protein fraction of Phyllanthus niruri plays a protective role against acetaminophen induced hepatic disorder via its antioxidant properties. Phytother Res. 2006 Jul;20(7):595-601.
  5. Tatiya AU, Surana SJ, Sutar MP, Gamit NH. Hepatoprotective effect of poly herbal formulation against various hepatotoxic agents in rats. Pharmacognosy Res. 2012 Jan;4(1):50-6. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.91040.
  6. Ranilla LG, Kwon YI, Apostolidis E, Shetty K. Phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity and in vitro inhibitory potential against key enzymes relevant for hyperglycemia and hypertension of commonly used medicinal plants, herbs and spices in Latin America. Bioresour Technol. 2010 Jun;101(12):4676-89. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2010.01.093. Epub 2010 Feb 25.
  7. Srividya N, Periwal S. Diuretic, hypotensive and hypoglycaemic effect of Phyllanthus amarus. Indian J Exp Biol. 1995 Nov;33(11):861-4.
  8. Okoli CO, Obidike IC, Ezike AC, Akah PA, Salawu OA. Studies on the possible mechanisms of antidiabetic activity of extract of aerial parts of Phyllanthus niruri. Pharm Biol. 2011 Mar;49(3):248-55. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2010.501456.
  9. Sharma P, Parmar J, Verma P, Goyal PK. Modulatory influence of Phyllanthus niruri on oxidative stress, antioxidant defense and chemically induced skin tumors. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2011;30(1):43-53.
  10. Ranilla LG, Apostolidis E, Shetty K. Antimicrobial activity of an Amazon medicinal plant (Chancapiedra) (Phyllanthus niruri L.) against Helicobacter pylori and lactic acid bacteria. Phytother Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):791-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3646. Epub 2011 Oct 28.
  11. Faral-Tello P, Mirazo S, Dutra C, Pérez A, Geis-Asteggiante L, Frabasile S, Koncke E, Davyt D, Cavallaro L, Heinzen H, Arbiza J. Cytotoxic, virucidal, and antiviral activity of South American plant and algae extracts. ScientificWorldJournal. 2012;2012:174837. doi: 10.1100/2012/174837. Epub 2012 Apr 24.
  12. Amin ZA, Abdulla MA, Ali HM, Alshawsh MA, Qadir SW. Assessment of in vitro antioxidant, antibacterial and immune activation potentials of aqueous and ethanol extracts of Phyllanthus niruri. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Jul;92(9):1874-7. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5554. Epub 2012 Jan 9.

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