Genetic resources of Phyllanthus in Southern India-Identification of Geographic and Genetic hot-spots and its implication for conservation
The genus Phyllanthus (family: Phyllanthaceae) is one of the most important groups of plants traded as a raw herbal drug in India (Ved and Goraya, 2008). Plants of this genus have been used in traditional medicine for a variety of uses, including as an antipyretic, laxative, tonic, antibacterial, antioxidative, immunomodulatory, antiviral, antiatherosclerotic, and antineoplasic (Unander et al., 1991, 1995; Calixto et al., 1998). In India, Phyllanthus is used as a common folk remedy for the treatment of jaundice and hepatitis. The genus is also used as a general tonic and to treat weakness in infants (Unander et al., 1991). A number of taxa are cultivated for their fleshy edible fruits and for preparation of herbal drugs. Among the Phyllanthus species in India, P. amarus, P. debilis, P. fraternus, P. urinaria, P. kozhikodianus, P. maderaspatensis, P. emblica, and P. indofischeri are widely used as herbal medicines, and some of these species are also cultivated in southern India (Table 5.1).