Herbal products have been used since the dawn of civilization on the earth to maintain human health and to get the remedies from various diseases by the vast majority of the world’s population. Among these herbs, Phyllanthus niruri, has been widely used for the treatment of jaundice and other hepatic disorders. Venkateswaran et al. (1987) reported that there are one or more materials in P. niruri, which inhibit the replication of woodchuck hepatitis virus in vivo and decrease the pathological effect of the same virus on woodchuck liver. Moreover, clinical studies on humans have also been carried out with P. niruri without any side effect. The herb has been reported to possess potent protective activity against various hepatic disorders like viral hepatitis and toxicity caused by different drugs and environmental toxicants. But mechanisms responsible for this hepatoprotective action of P. niruri, however are not well defined.
In recent years attention has been focused on the role of biotransformation of chemicals to highly reactive metabolites that initiate cellular toxicity. Many compounds including clinically useful drugs can cause cellular damage through metabolic activation of the compound to highly reactive substances such as free radicals.