Research towards production of plant-based soap is currently at an advanced stage at the Mount Kenya University in Kiambu County.
The initiative will see Aloe Vera and bamboo extracts used as additives to the soap, according to MKU Pro-Chancellor Dr Vincent Gaitho.
He said the University is conducting the research at its botanic garden at the Happy Valley campus in Thika that has over 300 indigenous plant species.
Dr Gaitho was speaking during the tree planting exercise by students and members of staff at the 103-acre land parcel adjacent to Thika River. He was accompanied by the MKU Vice-Chancellor Prof Deogratius Jaganyi and Co-Founder Dr Jane Nyutu.
“During this rainy period, the University plans to plant and grow over 5000 indigenous trees, shrubs and herbs. The plants will serve a triple purpose: mitigation of climate change, food security and improvement of people’s livelihoods,” Dr Gaitho stated, adding that the University has so far grown over 100,000 trees at different places.
Pro Jaganyi concurred that medicinal trees are not only a source of natural remedies but also play a pivotal role in maintaining the ecological balance of our surroundings.
“Mount Kenya University has always been a pioneer in promoting environmental consciousness, and the initiative to grow medicinal trees aligns seamlessly with our ethos,” asserted the VC.
“The biodiversity of provides a unique opportunity for us to cultivate a variety of medicinal trees, each with its own set of healing properties,” he added.
Moreover, the scholar added, the cultivation of medicinal trees aligns with global efforts to preserve biodiversity and combat climate change.
“Trees are nature’s air purifiers, and by growing medicinal varieties, we not only contribute to a healthier environment but also create a living pharmacy that future generations can benefit from. This initiative also provides a unique learning opportunity for our students,” he pointed out.
The cultivation of medicinal trees at the University, he noted, is not just a practical step towards a healthier community, but a symbolic gesture of its commitment to the well-being of our planet.
Dr Nyutu on her part said MKU is currently the United Nations Academic Impact Hub for SDG 10 on Reduced Inequalities.
“Accordingly, MKU’s team of professionals, scholars and researchers, working in collaboration with practitioners and other persons of goodwill, have joined hands with the Government of Kenya and with all the other Kenyans as well as with the international community in climate mitigation through trees growing as evidenced today,
“Certainly when the ecosystem is fully restored, the challenges of recurrent droughts and floods will be solved thus contributing towards other SDGs including poverty eradication, creation of decent works, Reduced Inequalities and life below water besides others,” she said.