All the annual herbs in Phyllanthus are morphologically close, therefore it is not easy to identify them correctly and as a result there is a lot of confusion[
Diasperus pentandrus (Schumach. & Thonn.) Kuntze
Diasperus scoparius (Welw.) Kuntze
Menarda linifolia Baill.
Phyllanthus deflexus Klotzsch
Phyllanthus dilatatus Klotzsch
Phyllanthus linifolius Vahl ex Baill.
Phyllanthus linoides Hochst. ex Baill.
Phyllanthus piluliferus Fenzl
Phyllanthus scoparius Welw.
Phyllanthus pentandrus is a delicate, erect or decumbent annual or short-lived, perennial plant; it can grow up to 60cm tall. The stem is little-branched at first, but later becomes much-branched and more or less woody at the base[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use.
Africa - widespread from Mauritania and Senegal to Ethiopia, south to S. Africa.
Sandy localities, sometimes amongst stones and rocks, on banks of rivers and dams; dry river beds and lakeside dunes; Brachystegia and mopane woodlands; miombo woodland; grassland and dambos; often as a weed of cultivated and disturbed ground[
A plant decoction is drunk as a treatment for syphilis, and is also used to wash the sores[
]. A decoction of the whole plant is drunk, and the ashes of the plant are dissolved in water and used as ear drops, as a treatment for earache[
The leaves and tender young shoots are deobstruent, diuretic, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic[
]. A decoction of the shoots is given as a tonic to nursing mothers[
]. An infusion of the young shoots is used as a treatment for chronic dysentery[
]. The powdered or decocted leaves are given as a treatment for colic and all abdominal pains, dysentery, dropsy, fever, jaundice and the over-secretion of bile[
]. An infusion made from the bruised leaves is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[
The dried leaves, mixed with butter, are applied to boils and dislocated limbs[
The leaves are used in a protective dressing with insecticidal properties for wounds in livestock[
The roots are deobstruent, diuretic and tonic[
]. A decoction is drunk to treat fevers and female sterility[
]. The powdered or decocted roots are given as a treatment for jaundice and over-secretion of bile[
A test of extracts of the whole plant, looking for effective action on experimental malaria, have proved negative[
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