Don’s Research Gives Hope to Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Dr. Wangia shedding light on aspects of her research during an interview in the lab

A researcher at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has made significant progress in her research efforts in the utilization of the Ruellia plant to manage the effects felt by Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients.

According to Dr. Christine Wangia, a Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Pre-clinical and Clinical Courses in the School of Pharmacy, College of Health Sciences, the plant which grows in the wild, could be domesticated and has anti-inflammatory properties.

“Through my research, I aim to give a safe alternative for RA patients in alleviating and controlling the side effects of the Rheumatoid Arthritis,” Dr. Wangia asserted.

Dr. Wangia revealed this when she presented her research on Ruellia plant titled; Medicinal use of Kenyan Ruellia Species,’ during a Webinar organized by the Directorate of Research and Innovation, Wednesday, September 8, 2021.

Her research centered on three species namely; Ruellia Prostrata, Ruellia Bignoniflora and Ruellia Lineari-bracteolata. She applied the in Vitro Anti-arthritic protocol which is adapted to investigate new anti-arthritic drugs.

“Ruellia plant is used in different types of arthritic conditions but my research modeled from the documented inflammation to RA management”, Dr. Wangia noted.

Dr. Wangia revealed that the three Ruellia species exhibited anti-oxidant, analgesic, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties further noting Ruellia Prostrata species could be considered a better alternative in the management of RA patient as it showed to have higher analgesic, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities compared to the other plants.

She further said, the available compounds in Ruellia Prostrata plant like flavonoid among others are not found in the synthetic medicines available in the market, making it safe on internal organs, blood biochemistry and hematology.

However, she was quick to point out that although the plant has been experimented on rats, human experiments are yet to be done as human ethical practices have to be dully followed through the Pharmacy and Poisons Board directives.

Dr. Wangia at a farm where the Ruellia plants are grown

The don said she has patented her research and registered her herbal formulation as JongoTibTM with PPB and hopes to produce herbal and synthetic products from the plant in the near future.

Director of Research and Innovation, Dr. John Kinyuru thanked Dr. Wangia for her contribution to the world of pharmacy, noting the University fraternity was proud to be associated of her research work.

He noted that Dr. Wangia’s research would be instrumental in making available alternatives to patients suffering from RA in future.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease where the body defense system recognizes the protein from joints to be foreign thus attacking its own cells making it difficult to treat it. It has a genetic predisposition and is three times prevalent among women than in men.

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