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Effects of alkaloidal extract of Phyllanthus niruri on HIV Replication

Phyllanthus niruri Linn has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2,000 years and has been used in wide number of traditional ailments such as jaundice, gonorrhea, frequent menstruation, and diabetes and topically as a poultice for skin ulcers, sores, swelling, and itchness. The plant has a role in liver disorders due to its febrifuge, antiseptic, astringent, stomachic, deobstruent and diuretic actions. It corrects GIT troubles like dyspepsia, colic, diarrhea and dysentery and tones the GIT tract back to function. The young shoots of the plant are administered in the form of an infusion for the treatment of chronic dysentery. Phyllanthus niruri primarily contains lignans (e.g., phyllanthine and hypophyllanthine), alkaloids, and bioflavonoids (e.g., quercetin).

Phyllanthus blocks DNA polymerase, the enzyme needed for the hepatitis B virus (HBV) to reproduce. It has been found to inhibit DNA polymerase of HBV and binds to HbsAg, in vitro. The fact that both HBV DNA polymerase inhibitory activity and HbsAg binding activity are present in an isolable component of Phyllanthus niruri served as a harbinger of this research work. While it remains unknown as to which of these ingredients has an antiviral effect, research shows that this herb acts primarily on the liver. This action in the liver confirms its historical use as a remedy for jaundice. A comprehensive research focused on identification of the specific pharmacophore of Phyllanthus niruri remains the need of the hour. The prime objective of this study was thus focused on identification and evaluation of anti-HIV activity of Phyllanthus niruri with a viewpoint to broad base the pharmacological profile of the plant species.

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