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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 839172, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/839172
Review Article

An Overview of Important Ethnomedicinal Herbs of Phyllanthus Species: Present Status and Future Prospects

1Department of Botany, Gargi College, University of Delhi, Siri Fort Road, New Delhi 110049, India
2National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, IARI Campus, New Delhi 110012, India
3Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros Agronomos, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Received 29 August 2013; Accepted 30 October 2013; Published 3 February 2014

Academic Editors: R. Aroca, W. L. Morris, and S. Sakr

Copyright © 2014 Bharti Sarin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The genus Phyllanthus consists of more than 1000 species, of which many are used as traditional medicines. The plant extracts have been used since ancient times, for treating hypertension, diabetes, hepatic, urinary, and sexual disorders, and other common ailments. Modern day scientific investigations have now confirmed pharmacognostic properties of Phyllanthus herbs. The phytochemicals attributing these medicinal properties have been identified in many of the Phyllanthus herbs. The morphologically similar herbs of Phyllanthus grow together and admixture of species during collection for manufacture of herbal medicines is quite common. Hence, along with pharmacognostic and phytochemical studies, appropriate protocols for correct identification of species are also important. As the use of these herbs as green medicines is becoming more popular, it is imperative to assess its genetic diversity and phylogenetic relatedness for future conservation strategies. This review is an attempt to present an overview of the existing studies on pharmacognostics, phytochemistry, species identification, and genetic diversity of Phyllanthus herbs and consequently (i) highlight areas where further research is needed and (ii) draw attention towards extending similar studies in underutilized but potentially important herbs such as P. maderaspatensis, P. kozhikodianus, P. rheedii, P. scabrifolius, and P. rotundifolius.