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Cleome gynandra is a medicinal plant that is used all over Uganda to hasten childbirth because, it possesses the ability to contract the uterus. It is also used as an abortifacient in the first trimester. In this study, the effects of Cleome gynandra were investigated on the estrous cycle and the histology of the ovary and uterus of adult Wistar rat. Twelve adult female Wistar rats of 130-140g average weight were used. These were divided into three groups of four animals each. Group A received distilled water only, while animals in groups B and C received 250mg/kg body weight and 500mg/kg body weight of extract, orally and daily respectively. Monitoring of estrous cycle continued throughout the three weeks of extract administration. After three weeks, the ovaries and uteri were excised and processed for histological examination. In the ovary, there was a reduction in number of primordia, primary, secondary and graafian follicles in the treated groups. Vacuolations were common to both the ovarian and uterine tissues of treated animals. The estrous cycle of Group B and C, showed a mild disruption when compared to animals in Group A. The results showed that the plant extract studied, exerted negative influences on the estrous cycle and histology of the ovary and uterus of Wistar albino rats, suggesting a disturbance on the reproductive health of the animals. Further studies to determine the mechanism of action of Cleome gynandra on the ovary and uterus and the levels of FSH, LH, estradiol and progesterone is recommended.
Key Words: Cleome gynandra, estrous cycle, Wistar albino rats, ovarian follicles.