Shatterstone Herb Halts Hepatitis B Virus and Herpes
Recent research confirms that the Shatterstone herb (Phyllanthus urinaria) inhibits hepatitis virus B (HBV) and herpes.
The hepatitis B epidemic
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that about 240 million people around the world are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus. Other research has estimated that up to 400 million people are infected. The CDC also estimates that between 700,000 and 1.4 million people in the U.S. currently have a chronic infection of hepatitis B virus (HBV).
HBV can be transmitted through bodily fluids (blood, saliva, semen), through an open sore of someone infected, sharing needles, needle sticks, birth from an infected mother, or even by sharing a razor or toothbrush with someone infected with HBV.
And the virus can remain infective for more than seven days outside the body – on surfaces.
After an incubation period that can last from a couple of months to six months, HBV infections will cause appetite loss, fevers, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, dark urine, abdominal pain and jaundice among those infected. A chronic case of HBV will also typically result in significant liver damage and possibly liver cancer over time.
There are several antiviral drugs out there that are prescribed by doctors in cases of HBV. Most of these are also referred to as interferons. These can have varied success, yet none are considered a cure for the virus. Typically prescribed interferon antiviral drugs include adefovir dipivoxil. Adefovir comes with some hefty – even dangerous side effects, however.
These include allergic reactions causing difficulty breathing, facial swelling, and swelling of the tongue or throat.
Adefovir can also create a build-up of lactic acid within the body – called lactic acidosis. This can cause death. Signs of lactic acidosis include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, uneven heart rate, light-headedness, numbness and muscle pain.
Newer treatments include nucleoside analogs, of which lamivudine was the first. The problem, however, is that after five years of treatment, HBV infections become resistant to this and other nucleosides in about 80% of infected people. HBV infections also become resistant to adefovir and other interferons in many cases as well.
This problem of increasing resistance to pharmaceutical medications has some researchers looking to Nature for help.
Nature has already answered
After thousands of years of herbal medicine and billions of people treated clinically, modern medicine is slowly learning about these great treatments. Researchers are realizing that nature’s solutions have a couple of legs up on pharmaceuticals: These include the fact that most medicinal herbs are known for their safety and lack of serious adverse side effects.
And it is harder for viruses to become resistant to whole plant extracts, because plant compounds typically have tens and even hundreds of biochemical compounds – while pharmaceuticals typically have one. Plants can also alter their chemical makeup subtly to challenge infectious agents before they become resistant.
Plants use many resources to inhibit viruses. An example of these are lectins. I discussed the research showing how many lectins are naturally antiviral.
Shatterstone herb inhibits hepatitis B virus
New research from South Korea’s Ajou University School of Medicine has confirmed that an herb found growing as a weed in many tropical regions inhibits the replication of hepatitis B virus (HBV).
The researchers studied human liver cells infected with a hepatitis B virus that was resistant to lamivudine.
They made a water extract from the ground whole leaf of the Phyllanthus urinaria plant.
Some of the plant compounds the researchers found when they conducted a liquid chromatography included gallic acid, quercetin, geraniin and corilagin.
The research found that the Shatterstone herb stopped the ability of the HBV to replicate their genes. This is what the virus needs to do in order to keep infecting more cells. Stopping this replication is also referred to as the inhibition of DNA synthesis.
The researchers confirmed this ability in Shatterstone by conducting tests called real-time polymerase chain reactions – abbreviated as RT-PCR. The RT-PCR test amplifies and lights up DNA to allow the computer to measure the expression of genes in the DNA. The real-time process allows scientists to determine if DNA replication is occurring – or not – and to what degree.
The researchers found that the Shatterstone herb halted DNA replication of the resistant HBV among the infected liver cells.
Furthermore, they found that the halting of DNA generation occurred in a dose-dependent manner. This is considered the gold standard of medical research.
Shatterstone also halts replication of Herpes-2
Herpes Simplex – either type 1 or type 2 – currently infects between 60% and 95% of the global population. Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) is the most prevent – infecting between 40% and 80% of the world’s populations. The more serious herpes simplex type 2 infects over 500 million people – 15% of the world’s population.
Herpes is not typically as lethal as HBV, and carriers often don’t know they are infected. But herpes can still produce early mortality and some research has linked herpes simplex virus type 1 to Alzheimer’s disease.
Nevertheless, Phyllanthus urinaria has been shown to interfere with the growth of the herpes simplex virus.
Researchers from Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Medical University tested three different extracts (acetone, ethanol and methanol) from whole-leaf Shatterstone herb. They tested each of these extracts against both HSV-1 and HSV-2 infected cells.
The researchers found that all three extracts inhibited the growth of HSV-2 significantly. HSV-1 was not significantly inhibited, however.
In another study – where only an acetone extract was used, the extract only inhibited about 11% of the HSV-1 infection growth, but it halted the HSV-2 at 52% – considered a significant inhibition.
What is Shatterstone?
This herb – Phyllanthus urinaria – grows around the world primarily in tropical regions.
The herb is also called stonebreaker, gripeweed and leafflower.
The plant grows in India, Mexico, South America, Africa and elsewhere. The mature plant is small – only a couple of feet high – and grows like a weed in many areas. Its leaves are notable for their feathery appearance, with some redness in maturity. Their flowers tend to be greenish, small and white.
Different extracts and formulations using the herb have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Thai Medicine, Japanese Kampo medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for helping blood sugar issues, gonorrhea, flu, vaginitis, headaches, fevers, conjunctivitis, menstruation disorders and jaundice.
A water extract of P. urinaria has also been shown in a study from Taiwan’s Chang Gung University College of Medicine halt tumor development among several cancer cell lines. The mechanism of this effect was shown to be the suppression of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) – one of the hallmarks of cancer growth among the tissues.
Discover: Phyllanthus urinaria Tea
Jung J, Kim NK, Park S, Shin HJ, Hwang SG, Kim K. Inhibitory effect of Phyllanthus urinaria L. extract on the replication of lamivudine-resistant hepatitis B virus in vitro. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Jul 29;15:255. doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0792-3.
Yang CM, Cheng HY, Lin TC, Chiang LC, Lin CC. Acetone, ethanol and methanol extracts of Phyllanthus urinaria inhibit HSV-2 infection in vitro. Antiviral Res. 2005 Jul;67(1):24-30.
Itzhaki RF, Wozniak MA. Herpes simplex virus type 1 in Alzheimer’s disease: the enemy within. J Alzheimers Dis. 2008 May;13(4):393-405.
Hua-Yew Cheng, Chien-Min Yang, Ta-Chen Lin, Liang-Tzung Lin, Lien-Chai Chiang, and Chun-Ching Lin, “Excoecarianin, Isolated from Phyllanthus urinaria Linnea, Inhibits Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection through Inactivation of Viral Particles,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2011, Article ID 259103, 10 pages, 2011. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep157
Huang ST, Pang JH, Yang RC. Anti-cancer effects of Phyllanthus urinaria and relevant mechanisms. Chang Gung Med J. 2010 Sep-Oct;33(5):477-87.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn our health around. As I drove home that night, I realized this knowledge should be available to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”