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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 takes precautions against Swine Flu
2009-08-05

“No cases of the Human Swine Flu have been reported at the University of the Free State (UFS) so far,” says Sister Riana Johnson from Kovsie Health.

“The situation is monitored closely and we are taking the necessary precautions to deal with any possible cases,” she says.

“Staff and students should visit their nearest clinic, medical practitioner or an emergency room if they experience any of the symptoms. They can also contact Kovsie Health at 051 401 2603 on the Main Campus and 058 718 5210 on the Qwaqwa Campus during office hours,” says Sister Johnson.

The symptoms of Swine Flu resemble those of ordinary flu and it includes a fever above 38 degrees Celsius together with a sore throat, runny nose, blocked nose, coughing, headaches, tiredness and joint pains. Some people also have diarrhoea and vomiting.

A confirmed case of Swine Flu is a person who has an acute respiratory infection and where Swine Flu A/H1N1 infection is confirmed by a laboratory. There is no vaccine available against Swine Flu at the moment. However, antiviral medication is available and will be prescribed if necessary.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
5 August 2009

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