Stonebreaker is a medicinal plant traditionally used for the treatment of urolithiasis among other illnesses. However, several species of the genus Phyllanthus L. are called “quebra-pedra” (stonebreaker) by the general population in Brazil, due to taxonomic similarities, although the use of a species with a low content of active compounds may lead to a less effective treatment. P. niruri and P. tenellus are recognized as stonebreaker in the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia, and the Brazilian Ministry of Health included Phyllanthus spp in a list of medicinal plants recommended for research and development, indicating the need for further studies. Quantitative determination of the active compounds of different Phyllanthus species from Brazil is important because it allows to assess the impact of their role in public health and so contribute to the goal of RENISUS, the official list of species of interest to the national health service. Lignans comprise a group of compounds found in Phyllanthus species that have diverse pharmacological properties. Some of the most studied lignans are phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin, which have antihyperuricemic activity. The aim of this study was to develop an analytical method for the quantitative determination of phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin in Phyllanthus species by GC-MS and to assess the content of these lignans in six species of the genus from four different regions of Brazil. The phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin contents were found to be very variable in the analyzed species, ranging from not detectable or a mere trace to 0.6% (m/m), the highest value, found in P. amarus.
Key words: Traditional medicine, urolithiasis, stonebreaker, quebra-pedra, Phyllanthus, lignans, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
Copyright © 2021 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0