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Quality control of medicinal plants: Establishing some pharmacopoeial standards for the leaf of <i>Phyllanthus niruri </i>L. Phyllanthaceae

G.O. Alade
O.T. Oladipo
A. Frank
K.K. Ajibesin


Populace may lose confidence in herbal medicines if their safety cannot be guaranteed despite acclaimed therapeutic efficacy  accrued to them. Safety has to do with prescribing standards from plant sourcing to finished products. It therefore begins with the right plant materials. The leaves of Phyllanthus niruri L. (Phyllanthaceae) are used globally for the management of several ailments even at clinical studies level, yet there is no established pharmacopoeial standards for it. This study aimed to prescribe some  pharmacognostic and physiochemical standards for the leaf of P. niruri so as to determine its quality which will eventually lead to proper identification and safe use of the plant. Using standard methods, the macro- and micro morphology of the fresh and dried pulverized leaves of P. niruri, moisture content, ash and soluble extractives of pulverized powder material were evaluated. The result shows that the leaf is simple, pinnate, diamond shaped with serrated margin, acute apex and asymetrical base. The histology of the leaf shows that it is heterostomatous with stomata number of 1 -2- 3 and stomata Index (SI) of 7-13-20% for the upper surface and stomata number of 9-11-14 and SI of 25-29-35% lower surface. The transverse section shows cylindrically packed cells of mesophyll layer and irregularly celled spongy mesophyll. Moisture content, total ash, acid insoluble ash, water soluble ash, sulphated ash, water soluble and alcohol soluble extractives yield 8.9, 10.1, 3.9, 6.1, 13.2 and 7.4w/w%, respectively.