To develop and characterize an herbal gel prepared from methanol root extract of Urtica dioica
(Urticaceae) (Stinging nettle) for the treatment of arthritis in mice.
A methanol root extract from Urtica dioica was prepared, and a gel was then prepared using
Carbopol 934. The prepared gel was subjected to various physical tests (color, appearance, pH, texture,
viscosity) and in vivo evaluation, including primary skin irritation, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory tests,
in arthritic mice and compared with 2 % indomethacin gel, which was used as standard.
The prepared herbal gel was of light gray color with a smooth texture. It showed a pH of 7.1
and a viscosity of 21.2 cps. The gel exhibited pseudoplastic rheology, as evidenced by shear thinning
with increased shear rate. It was non-irritating to the skin in primary skin irritation test in mice and
showed 55.05 % inhibition of paw edema in a carrageenan-induced hind rat paw edema model,
comparable to that of the standard gel (53.93 %), after 24 h. The gel showed 58.21 % analgesia, versus
61.19 % analgesia for the indomethacin gel standard in writhing test.
The topical gel from methanol root extract of U. dioica may be an efficacious and safe
alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis but this
requires further investigations to ascertain its safety and clinical efficacy.