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14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

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

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

UFS-NSTF winners to make presentations
2008-07-21

Staff members of the University of the Free State (UFS) who are recent winners of two prestigious National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) awards will make presentations at the CR Swart Building on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein on 31 July 2008.

Prof Maryke Labuschagne from the Department of Plant Sciences will present a paper on “The importance of training in agriculture in Africa”. She received an award for the development of research capacity over the last ten years. She is an expert in the field of plant breeding and food security in Africa and was rewarded for her outstanding contribution to the development and training of black researchers and students.

The recipients of the other award, Prof Jan van der Westhuizen from the Department of Chemistry and Prof Kenneth Swart from FARMOVS-PAREXEL, will present a paper on “Bio-analytical chemistry”. Both are members of a team that also includes Dr Susan Bonnet from the Chemistry Department and Prof Thinus van der Merwe from FARMOVS-PAREXEL, and which received the award for innovation and outstanding contribution to science, engineering and technology by either an individual or a team over the last ten years.

The presentations will start at 11:00.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
21 July 2008

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