Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme

Principal Investigator: Dr AOT Ashafa
E: or

Description:  Keywords: AOT Ashafa

The group investigates the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State Province of South Africa. We aim to discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents and hence assist in the worldwide promotion of safe, accessible, and affordable medication in developing countries. Currently, we are investigating traditional Basotho medicinal plants for potential qualities associated with their use as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anthelmintic, antidiabetic, antitubercular, anticancer, and antidiarrhoeal agents. This includes an evaluation of the safety and/or toxicity of these plants to humans by establishing safe dosage parameters in the usage of these plants. Our research informs teaching and development of expertise in ethnobotany, phytomedicine, phytopharmacology, novel bioassays, and natural product chemistry, as well as the isolation of biologically active molecules.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micro-propagation and field trials, as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable plant species.


University of Ibadan, Nigeria (Department of Botany).

University of Lagos, Nigeria (Department of Botany and Microbiology).

Lagos State University, Nigeria (Departments of Botany and Biochemistry).

ARC (Animal Production Institute), South Africa.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa (Department of Agriculture).

University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (Department of Archaeology).

University of Fort Hare, South Africa (Department of Chemistry).

Current Research Projects:

Postdoctoral (NRF Free-standing):

MI Kazeem

T: +27 74 233 6095
In-vitro and in-vivo studies on the antihyperglycemic potential of some medicinal plants from South Africa. Description:  Keywords: MI Kazeem

Doctoral (PhD):

FO Balogun

T: +27 74 776 6514
Anti-lipidemic, Hepatoprotective, Cardio-protective and Antidiabetic activities of three Basotho medicinal plants. Description:  Keywords: FO Balogun
TR Pitso

T: +27 58 718 5337
Conservation and propagation of Morella serrata and Eriocephalus punctulatus: two endangered Basotho medicinal plants. Description:  Keywords: TR Pitso
MO Agunbiade


T: +27 84 202 1517
Isolation and characterisation of bioflocculants from the rivers in the Eastern Free State province. Description:  Keywords: MO Agunbiade
S Saheed

T: +23 480 3817 9476
Biochemical assessment of the effect of corn silk ethanolic extract on acetaminophen-mediated nephrotoxicity in rats. Description:  Keywords: S Saheed


SQN Lamula

T: +27 78 767 5533
Degree of toxic contaminants of three major dump sites in Maluti-A-Phofung, Eastern Free State Province. Description:  Keywords: SQN Lamula
SA Modise

T: +27 83 484 5118
Comparative insecticidal properties of four Basotho medicinal plants.
NF Makhubu

T: +27 71 161 4721
Bioactive compounds from Dicoma anomala against microbial infections in diabetic patients
Description:  Keywords: NF Makhubu
JK Madisha

T: +27 82 578 8736
Detection of antimycobacterial activity in specific medicinal plants from Limpopo Province. Description:  Keywords: JK Madisha
PJ Mojau

T: +27 58 718 5338

Micropropagation and field trial of of Strumaria tenella ssp orientalis: An endangered Basotho Medicinal
Description:  Keywords: PJ Mojau

N Mbhele

T: +27 78 878 0964
Comparative antimicrobial activity of extracts and fractions from Morella serrata (Lim.) Killick (Myricaceae) against bacteria and fungi of medical importance. Description:  Keywords: N Mbhele
NP Sibiya

T: +27 73 884 5511
Antibacterial activity of Basotho medicinal plants against bacteria (Avibacterium paragallinarum and Campylobacter jejuni) causing chicken diseases Description:  Keywords: NP Sibiya

Publications since 2010:

  1. Lamula SQN, Ashafa AOT (2014). Antimicrobial and cytotoxic potential of dianthus basuticus used in Basotho traditional medicine. Bangladesh J Pharmacol 2014; 9: 105-111.
  2. Yakubu MT, Sunmonu TO, Lewu FB, Ashafa AOT, Olorunjimim FJ, Eddouks M (2014). Efficacy and Safety of medicinal plants used in the management of diabetes mellitus. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
  3. Ashafa AOT, Olajuyigbe FO (2014). Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of essential oil of Cosmos bipinnatus Cav. leaves from South Africa. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical research 13: 1417-1423.
  4. Ashafa AOT, Pitso TR (2014). Influence of different drying methods on the composition and antimicrobial activities of essential oil from Leucosidea sericea Eckl. and Zeyh. Journal of essential oil bearing plants (In press).
  5. Mutiu I Kazeem, Musbau A Akanji, Musa T Yakubu, AOT Ashafa (2014). Antiglycation and hypolipidemic effect of polyphenols from Zingiber officinale Roscoe (Zingiberaceae) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (Accepted).
  6. Molefe NI, Tsotetsi AM, Ashafa AOT, Thekisoe MMO (2013). In vitro anthelmintic effects of Cotyledon orbiculata, Hermannia depressa and Nicotiana glauca against parasitic gastro-intestinal nematodes of livestock. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 7: 536-542
  7. Kazeem MI, Abimbola SG, Ashafa AOT (2013). Inhibitory potential of Gossypium arboretum leaf extracts on diabetes key enzymes, a-amylase and a-glucosidase. Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology 8: 149-155.
  8. Ashafa AOT (2013). Medicinal potential of Morella seratta (Lam.) Killick (Myricaceae) root extracts: biological and pharmacological activities. BMC Complimentary and Alternative Medicine 13: 163-171
  9. Ashafa AOT, Abass AA, Osinaike T, Lewu FB (2013). Morphological characters and ascorbic acid content of an elite genotype of Cochorus olitorius: the influence of moisture stress. South African Journal of Plant and Soil. 30: 113-117
  10. Kazeem MI, Ogunbiyi JV, Ashafa AOT (2013). In vitro studies on the inhibition of a-amylase and a-glucosidase by leaf extracts of Picralima nitida (Stapf). Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 12: 719-725
  11. Kazeem MI, Akanji MA, Yakubu MT, Ashafa AOT (2013). Protective effect of free and bound polyphenol extracts from Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) on the hepatic antioxidant and some carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
  12. Ashafa AOT, Orekoya LO, Yakubu MT (2012). Toxicity profile of ethanolic extract of Azadirachta indica stem bark in male Wistar rats. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 811-817.
  13. Ashafa AOT, Yakubu MT, Ogbe AA, Abass AA (2012). Effect of ethanolic seed extract of Croton penduliflorous Hutch. on loperamide-induced constipated male rats. Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology 7: 42-46
  14. Molefe NI, Tsotetsi AM, Ashafa AOT, Thekisoe MMO (2012). In vitro anthelmintic effects of Artemisia afra and Mentha longifolia against parasitic gastro-intestinal nematodes of livestock. Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology 7: 157-163.
  15. Ashafa AOT, Ogbe AA, OsinaikeT (2012). Inhibitory effect of mango (Mangifera indica L.) leaf extracts on the germination of Cassia occidentalis seeds. African Journal of Agricultural Research 7: 4634-4639.
  16. Ashafa AOT, Umebese C (2012). Phytochemical screening, antibacterial and antifungal activity of Garuleum woodii Schinz. root extracts against human pathogenic microbes. Journal of Medicinal Plants research (In Press).
  17. Yakubu M.T, Mostafa M, Ashafa AOT, Afolayan AJ (2012). Antimicrobial activity of the solvent fractions from Bulbine natalensis tuber. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 9(4):459-464
  18. Ashafa AOT, TO Sunmonu, and AJ Afolayan (2011). Effects of leaf and berry extracts of Phytolacca dioica L. on haematological and weight parameters of Wistar rats. Afri J Pharm Pharmacog 5: 150-154.
  19. Ashafa AOT, Olunu OO (2011). Toxicological evaluation of ethanolic root extract of Morinda lucida (L.) Benth. (Rubiaceae) in male Wistar rats. J Nat Pharm 2: 108-114
  20. Ashafa AOT, Sunmonu TO, Abass AA, Ogbe AA (2011). Laxative potential of the ethanolic leaf extract of Aloe vera (L.) Burn. F. in Wistar rats with loperamide-induced constipation. J Nat Pharm 2: 158-162.
  21. Ashafa AOT, DS Grierson, AJ Afolayan (2010). In vitro antioxidant activities of the extracts from the leaves of Felicia muricata Thunb. An underutilised medicinal plant from the Eastern Cape. Afr J. Com. Alt. Med. 7: 296-302.
  22. Ashafa AOT, TO Sunmonu, and AJ Afolayan (2010). Toxicological effects of the aqueous leaf and berry extracts of Phytolacca dioica L. on the haematology, kidney and liver function indices of Wistar rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 48: 1886-1889.
  23. Ashafa AOT, Grierson DS, Yakubu MT, and Afolayan AJ. (2010). Evaluation of extract of Felicia muricata leaves for anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activities. Pharmaceutical Biology. 48: 994-1001.

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