Tropical plants in the genus Phyllanthus have a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine ( the traditional medicine of India) for the treatment of hepatitis, kidney and bladder problems, intestinal parasites, and diabetes. The most studied species is Phyllanthus amarus.

Hepatitis B is a two-stage illness. Its has an acute phase which causes jaundice, severe fatigue, and other symptoms. These symptoms usually resolve in a month or so; however, the infection may then become chronic. Long-term infection with hepatitis B can spread the disease to other people and can also lead to liver injury or liver cancer.

P. amarus has undergone considerable evaluation as a as a treatment for chronic hepatitis B, and a bit of study for acute hepatitis. However, the results have not been promising. The current consensus is that the herb is not helpful for hepatitis. P. urinaria also appears to be ineffective.