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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 students listen to world expert in environmental law
2010-08-05

 
Dr Ilze Keevy, Kabelo Khara, LL.B. final-year student in Environmental Law, Adv. Antoinette Ferreira, and Luthando Tshangana, also an LL.B. final-year student in Environmental Law.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

In one of her classes, Dr Ilze Keevy, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS), invited Adv. Antoinette Ferreira, a Senior Prosecutor at the Special Prosecution Unit of the Director of Public Prosecution: Free State, this week to present an interesting and topical lecture about Organised Environmental Crime and Biodiversity. The lecture was, amongst others, attended by LL.B., LL.M. and LL.D. students in Environmental Law, as well as master’s students in Environmental Management.

Adv. Ferreira, who is currently working on one of the world’s most important syndicate cases about rhinoceros hunting, dealt with environmental law in her lecture, with the focus on organised crime syndicates. Issues like how syndicates operate, the prosecution of syndicates and all the problems related to the destruction of our South African biodiversity formed part of her lecture. – Leonie Bolleurs


 

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