Food Chemistry

Topics: Phyllanthus, Antioxidant, Lipid peroxidation Pages: 23 (3529 words) Published: February 3, 2013
Food Chemistry 95 (2006) 180–185

Antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective
potential of Phyllanthus niruri
R. Harish, T. Shivanandappa


Department of Food Protectants and Infestation Control, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570 020, India Received 5 April 2004; received in revised form 25 November 2004; accepted 25 November 2004

Antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective potential of Phyllanthus niruri, a widely used medicinal plant, were investigated. Methanolic and aqueous extract of leaves and fruits of P. niruri showed inhibition of membrane lipid peroxidation (LPO), scavenging of 1,1-diphenyl-2picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical and inhibition of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in vitro. Antioxidant activity of the extracts were also demonstrable in vivo by the inhibition of the carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) – induced formation of lipid peroxides in the liver of rats by pretreatment with the extracts. CCl4 – induced hepatotoxicity in rats, as judged by the raised serum enzymes, glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT) and glutamate pyruvate transaminase (GPT), was prevented by pretreatment with the extracts, demonstrating the hepatoprotective action of P. niruri. Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Phyllanthus niruri; Antioxidant activity; Lipid peroxidation; Hepatoprotective

1. Introduction
Free radicals, from both endogenous and exogenous
sources, are implicated in the etiology of several degenerative diseases, such as coronary artery diseases, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancer (Halliwell,
Gutteridge, & Cross, 1992). High consumption of fruits
and vegetables is associated with low risk for these diseases, which is attributed to the antioxidant vitamins and other phytochemicals (Ames, Shigenaga, & Hagen,
1993; Prior, 2003; Weisburger, 1999). There is a great
deal of interest in edible plants that contain antioxidants
and health – promoting phytochemicals, in view of their
health implications.
Phyllanthus niruri (family: Euphorbiaceae) is a perennial herb distributed throughout India. Whole plant, fresh leaves and fruits are used to treat various ailments,

Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 821 251 3210; fax: +91 821 251 7233.
E-mail address: (T. Shivanandappa). 0308-8146/$ - see front matter Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2004.11.049

particularly hepatitis (Chopra, Nayar, & Chopra, 1986).
Antitumor and anticarcinogenic activities of Phyllanthus
amarus have also been reported (Rajeshkumar et al.,
2002). Other medicinal properties, such as hypolipidaemic (Khanna, Rizvi, & Chander, 2002) and antiviral (Venkateswaran, Millman, & Blumberg, 1987; Wang,
Cheng, Li, Meng, & Malik, 1994) activities of P. niruri
have also been shown. Several bioactive molecules, such
as lignans, phyllanthin, hypophyllanthin, flavonoids,
glycosides and tannins, have been shown to be present
in the extracts of P. niruri (Rajeshkumar et al., 2002).
Using a rat hepatocyte primary culture Shamasundar
et al. (1985) have shown that phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin protected cells against carbon tetrachloride cytotoxicity whereas triacontanal was protective against
galactosamine toxicity. P. niruri is used as one of the
components of a multiherbal preparation for treating
liver ailments (Kapur, Pillai, Hussain, & Balani,
1994). However, a hepatoprotective effect of P. niruri
has not been demonstrated in vivo. Several studies have
shown that the hepatoprotective effect is associated with

R. Harish, T. Shivanandappa / Food Chemistry 95 (2006) 180–185

antioxidant rich plant extracts, (De, Shukla, Ravishankar, & Bhavasar, 1996; Dwivedi et al., 1990; Emmanuel, Amalaraj, & Ignacimuthu, 2001). In this study, we report the potent antioxidant activity of the fruits and leaves of P. niruri in several in vitro systems, and the

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