|Keelanelli is a small tropical plant commonly found in South India. This herb of repute from Siddha medicine has attracted the attention of researchers around the world due to its hepato-protective (liver-protecting) properties.Phyllanthus niruri– as the herb is botanically known – is known by different names such as dukong anak, dukong-dukong anak, amin buah, rami buah, turi hutan, bhuiamla, meniran (Indonesia), bhuiaonla (Hindi), kiranelligida (Canarese), bhuiavli (Marathi), ajata, amala, bhumyamalaki, sukshmadala, vituntika (Sanskrit), Nela Nelli in Kannada and Nela Usiri in Telugu. The common names of this herb are Amla, Chanca Piedra, Kidney Stone Tree, Phyllanthus and Quebra Pedra. It belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae, well known for its medicinal properties.PLACE OF ORIGINPhyllanthus niruri is a small erect herb grown in both cultivated fields and waste lands. It is commonly found in South India, as well as in the Amazon rain forests, in the wilds of Texas, the Bahamas, China, Peru, and other South American tropical regions.HISTORY
Keelanelli has a history in herbal medicine reaching back more than 2000 years. The herb has been used as medicine not only in India, but also in South America.
It grows 50 to 70 centimeters tall, approximately 2 feet, and bears ascending branches. The bark is smooth and light green, bearing numerous pale green flowers, which are often flushed with red. The fruits are tiny, smooth capsules containing seeds.
More than 2000 species of Phyllanthus are used in ancient Indian medicine. In Ayurvedic medicine, P. niruri was referred as bhuiamla, but now various Phyllanthus species are also assigned with this name. Uses of some of the species are:
Phyllanthus emblica – The herb has gained interest as a potential treatment for human bone disorders, as well as for diabetes. As far as non-medical purposes, its leaves and barks produce a biomolecule called tannin that may be used for leather tanning and dyeing purposes.
Phyllanthus amarus – Its root and leaf extract shows significant hepatitis C antiviral activity.
Phyllanthus acidus – The leaf of this herb demonstrates anti-plasmodial activity against Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite that can cause malaria. It is also used for the preparation of preservatives.
Phyllanthus reticulatus – The leaves show potential RNase H inhibition and protection against the viral cytopathic effects of HIV-1.
Phyllanthus acuminatus – This species is known to contain antineoplastic glucosides, which makes it valuable in the treatment of melanoma.
Scientists mark little difference between P. niruri, P. urinaria, and P. amarus, as the phytochemical makeups and the appearances of these herbs are similar.
Keelanelli is used in Indian medicine for curing various problems in the stomach, genitourinary system, liver, kidney, and spleen. It is bitter, astringent, stomachic, diuretic, febrifuge and antiseptic.
All parts of Phyllanthus niruri possess therapeutic properties. The whole plant is used as medicine, including its roots, leaves, and fruits. The fruits are useful for the treatment of tubercular ulcers, wounds, sores, scabies and ringworm. The fresh root is believed to be an excellent remedy for jaundice. Its leaves with salt cures scabby infection and it can be applied on bruises and wounds without salt. The milky juice is a good application for offensive sores.
The roots are mixed with Commiphora mukul and given to the camels for curing indigestion. In a non-medical use, a decoction of the leaves and stems of keelanelli is used for dyeing cotton black.
Traditionally, the herb is used for the treatment of jaundice, gonorrhea, frequent menstruation, dysentery, and diabetes. Keelanelli is commonly used for the treatment of snake bite in major parts of India. The herb has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-cancerous properties, and it is used for treating skin ulcers, sores, swelling, and itchiness. It is used to treat coughs, asthma, and other bronchial infections. It also has anti-urolithic (anti-kidney stones) properties. A clinical study found evidence that an extract of this herb can reduce levels of urinary calcium. However, it is unclear whether or not Keelanelli can treat existing stones.
Keelanelli is a major component of many popular liver tonics including Liv.-52. No effective specific therapy is currently available for viral hepatitis, but researchers have conducted clinical studies of P. niruri that demonstrate effectiveness in curing Hepatitis B as well as Hepatitis A. Their report concludes that P. niruri inhibits the growth and proliferation of the virus and also affects the replication of its genetic material. P. niruri exactly blocks DNA polymerase, an active enzyme, which is essential for both Hepatitis B and C virus to reproduce.
The medicinal uses of the plant extend to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibition properties of P. niruri can be obtained with a simple water extract of the plant.
Keelanelli therapy for jaundice: Add some cardamom to keelanelli leaves, along with a spoon of turmeric powder. Add an onion to it and grind the mixture. Mix this with a glass of milk or buttermilk and consume it twice a day – morning (on empty stomach) and night.
Keelanelli used for fever: Grind keelanelli root with 2 teaspoons of gingelly (sesame) oil, along with cumin and milk. This paste can be applied to the head to gradually reduce fever.
Keelanelli plant for burns: Add pepper to 30 grams of keelanelli leaves. Boil it with 3 cups of water until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Consumption of this juice will help to heal burns of the skin.
Keelanelli has gained worldwide popularity due to its effect against Hepatitis-B. It is an important plant in Indian medicine, and it has also been used in Brazil and Peru as a herbal remedy for kidney stones.