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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

Married couple from the UFS launch their latest book on psychology
2008-10-28

 
A book by Prof. Dap Louw (right), head of the Centre for Psychology and the Law in the Department of Psychology at the University of the Free State (UFS), and his wife, Prof. Anet Louw (left), associate professor in the same department, was recently launched. The 400-page book with the title “Child and Adolescent Development” (also available in Afrikaans as “Die Ontwikkeling van die Kind en die Adolessent”), is full of South African data, examples, case-studies and illustration material such as photos and sketches. Various universities have already prescribed the book. Profs Louw are currently busy with a book that links up with the book mentioned, namely “Adult Development/Die Ontwikkeling van die Volwassene”. This book should be published before the end of 2008. Afterwards a total revision and renewal of their existing first-year book, with "Abnormal Behaviour in the South African Context", are next on the list. Here Proff. Louw are handing a copy of their latest book to the Acting Rector of the UFS, Prof. Teuns Verschoor (middle). According to the Louws, Prof. Verschoor’s support regarding the academic jurisdiction of the book as well as his view that the writing of books should not be neglected by lecturers and researchers, has contributed a lot to the publishing of the book.
Photo: Supplied

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