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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

Sports physician receives prestigious award from SASMA
2009-11-25

 
Dr Louis Holtzhausen, Director of Kovsie Health at the University of the Free State (UFS) was recently awarded an honorary membership of the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA). Dr Holtzhausen received this award from the Executive Committee of SASMA, together with prominent names in the profession such as Prof. Tim Noakes, Director of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine and founding member of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Science Academy, Prof. Martin Schwellnus, Professor of Sports Medicine, UCT and Sports Physician at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and Prof. Wayne Derman, also from UCT and recently the Chief Medical Officer of the National Olympic Committee of South Africa for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

This award by SASMA goes to members of the medical and scientific community who have made significant contributions to the advancement of sports medicine. Dr Holtzhausen has been the President of SASMA and over the last two years the membership of this organisation has increased with 30%. He also established essential working relationships with key sports bodies in the country, including Sports and Recreation South Africa, the South Africa Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) as well as with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

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