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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 115-120
Original Article

Potential Use of Plectranthus amboinicus in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Chinese Herbal Medicine Program, Division of Research and Development, Development Center for Biotechnology, 101, Ln169, Kangning St., Xizhi City, Taipei County 221, Taiwan

Received 23 June 2007; Accepted 12 September 2007

Copyright © 2010 Jia-Ming Chang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Plectranthus amboinicus (P. amboinicus) is a folk herb that is used to treat inflammatory diseases or swelling symptoms in Taiwan. We investigated therapeutic efficacy of P. amboinicus in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) using collagen-induced arthritis animal model. Arthritis was induced in Lewis rats by immunization with bovine type II collagen. Serum anti-collagen IgG, IgM and C-reactive protein (CRP) were analyzed. To understand the inflammation condition of treated animals, production of TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β from peritoneal exudates cells (PEC) were also analyzed. P. amboinicus significantly inhibited the footpad swelling and arthritic symptoms in collagen-induced arthritic rats, while the serum anti-collagen IgM and CRP levels were consistently decreased. The production of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β were also decreased in the high dosage of P. amboinicus group. Here, we demonstrate the potential anti-arthritic effect of P. amboinicus for treating RA, which might confer its anti-rheumatic activity. This differs the pharmacological action mode of indomethacin.