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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 again involved in this year's Science Expo
2009-08-21

The annual Science Expo will once again take place at the South Campus (formerly known as the Vista Campus) of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein from 20-22 Augustus 2009.

This is the 25th year that the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Science at the UFS is involved in the project as one of the main sponsors for the regional competition. This involvement stems from the institution’s endeavour to promote a love for science amongst youth at an early age already. In this way, new thoughts and development are stimulated with regard to science.

The total involvement of the faculty amounts to approximately R25 000, which includes:

  • The sponsoring of prizes and gift hampers for 220 medallists
  • The sponsoring of two floating trophies awarded to the primary and secondary school with the most Gold medals, as well as R1 000 cash for the two winning
    schools as prize money
  • The sponsoring of medals for the best project for Grades 4-7, Grades 8-9 and Grades 10-12
  • The sponsoring of merit bursaries to the value of approximately R1 800 for the
    best project: Grades 10-12 at the Science Expo
  • The sponsoring of a special prize for the best project in Soil Sciences to the
    value of R500
  • The venue is made available for free for the project
  • The sponsoring of other expenses to the value of R10 000

This year approximately 432 participants entered for the Science Project. The best projects will participate in the National Science Expo in Pretoria from 2-3 October 2009, where a group of learners will be selected to go to the International Science Expo.

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

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