Phyllanthus niruri is a plant used for years in Brazil to treat urinary calculi. We prospectively evaluated the effect of P. niruri intake on 24 h urinary biochemical parameters in an attempt to assess its in vivo effect in calcium stone forming (CSF) patients. A total of 69 CSF patients (39 males and 30 females, 38+/-8 years old) were randomized to take either P. niruri ( n=33) (450 mg capsules, td) or placebo ( n=36) for 3 months. Blood calcium, uric acid, citrate, magnesium, oxalate, sodium and potassium were determined at baseline and at the end of the study. A subset analysis was made in patients classified according to the presence of metabolic abnormalities (hypercalciuria, hyperuricosuria, hyperoxaluria, hypocitraturia and hypomagnesiuria). Overall, there were no significant differences in the mean values of urinary parameters between the urine samples before and after P. niruri intake, except for a slight reduction in mean urinary magnesium after P. niruri, which was within the normal range. However, in the subset analysis, we observed that P. niruri induced a significant reduction in the mean urinary calcium in hypercalciuric patients (4.8+/-1.0 vs 3.4+/-1.1 mg/kg/24 h, P<0.05). In this short-term follow-up, no significant differences in calculi voiding and/or pain relief between the groups taking P. niruri or the placebo were detected. Our data suggest that P. niruri intake reduces urinary calcium based on the analysis of a subset of patients presenting with hypercalciuria. Larger trials including primary hypercalciuric stone formers should be performed in order to confirm these findings and to determine the possible clinical consequences of urinary calcium reduction during P. niruri administration.