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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

Kovsie-Alumni Trust presents annual dinner
2009-03-27

 
The Kovsie-Alumni Trust of the University of the Free State (UFS) held its annual dinner at Emoya Estate in Bloemfontein recently. The dinner was among others attended by members of the trust, alumni and members of the Mangaung alumni branch. Judge Faan Hancke, Chairperson of the UFS Council was the guest speaker and Ben Schoonwinkel, chairperson of the Student Representative Council of 2008, was the master of ceremonies. Members of the "Grey Seuns Boereorkes", Martinette van Jaarsveld and Caroline Haasbroek (both UFS students) provided music of the highest standard. At the dinner were, from the left: Judge Hancke, Ms Francis Hoexter, member of the Kovsie-Alumni management and member of the UFS Council, Adv Seef Hefer, Chairperson of the Kovsie-Alumni Trust, and Prof. Nico du Plessis, member of the Kovsie-Alumni management.
Photo: Dries Myburgh

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