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No, Phyllanthus amarus does not lower blood sugar levels

“Reduce blood sugar levels with Phyllantus amarus, (eyin-olobe in Yoruba language),” reads the headline of a Facebook post published in Nigeria in September 2020.

“Get Phyllanthus amarus. Boil one handful of the plant with one litre of water in a pot and boil it for 15 minutes. You can boil enough quantity and keep it in the fridge but it should not exceed one week,” the post instructs.

It also lists doses of the mixture to be taken.  But is it true that this concoction could reduce blood sugar levels?

Plant widely used

Phyllanthus is a large genus of flowering plants, some species of which are used in herbal medicine. It grows throughout the world in tropical and subtropical climates. 

Phyllanthus amarus, sometimes known as Indian gooseberry, is widely used in Indian Ayurvedic traditional medicine to treat ailments of the stomach, genitourinary system, liver, kidney and spleen.

But modern medicine experts we consulted were dismissive of the claims shared on Facebook. 

‘Visit a doctor’

“There are procedures which must be followed before we say such a claim is backed by scientific research. Whoever posted the claim must provide us with the procedures he or she embarked on to arrive at such a claim,” Victor  Kolawole, professor of human physiology at the University of Abuja in Nigeria’s capital city, told Africa Check.

“People are so quick to believe things because they want a cheap way out. I would not advise anyone to try out the instructions in the claim. Visit a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment,” Kolawole said.

‘Ignore claims such as this’

Adamu Bakari, professor of medicine at Ahmadu Bello University in the north of the country, also rates the claim as false. 

“Even if a plant is proven to help reduce blood sugar level, it has to be subjected to various tests. How safe is the plant? Does it have any side effects? People have wrong beliefs about chronic illnesses.”

He added that people wanted quick cures but “should ignore claims such as this”. – Motunrayo Joel


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