In two years, I met seven herbalists who were attempting to make a water extract from this plant. The problem was, that they were mistakingly using a possibly toxic species, Phyllanthus tennellus, which is a bit more coomon across Florida, and looks silmilar. Read my caution below, and look into the two species before gathering it for use.
CAUTION: The latex of some Phyllanthus species can cause allergic reaction in some people. Supposedly toxic to dogs. It is an invasive plant in many areas.
MEDICINAL USES: Dried leaves. From Tropilab: The primary action of stone breaker is on the liver; it acts by the inhibition of DNA polymerase on the hepatitis B virus. The enzyme DNA polymerase is needed for the virus to reproduce. Several studies suggest that Phyllanthusurinaria works better than the related species p. amarus, p. debilis and p. niruri in the treatment of hepatitis B. An equally important action is the use against kidney stones (renal calculi), urinary tract- and bladder infections. In preliminary research in animals, extracts of Phyllanthus plants have shown promising results in pain relief. The mechanism seems to be that this is reached by decreasing inflammation. Supposedly, no side effects have been reported. Also, from other sources: To prevent gallstones, antibiotic. A widely used herbal medicine in China, where it has been cultivated as a medicinal plant. Studies at the Chang Gung University College of Medicine in Taiwan are confirming some anti cancer properties. Detailed information concerning more scientific studies can be found on phyllanthes.net.
POULTRY: I have seen chickens and ducks devour this plant.
WILDLIFE: In India, it is reportedly eaten by ungulates & elephants
NATIVE TO: Asian tropics: India, etc. Grows wild in most counties across Florida as well as many tropical areas of the world.
DESCRIPTION: Annual warm weather herb 1 to 2 feet tall. Plants look like small mimosa plants.
- LEAVES: Very small, alternate, close when touched.
- FLOWERS: Tiny, greenish white, developing along the axils of the leaves.
- FRUITS: Green-red fruits form along the stems where the flowers were.