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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

Together we can make a greener planet
2012-03-02

 

Students are rewarded for their efforts with waste recycling and energy saving on campus.
Seen here is Molete Lerothodi of Kyalami Residence, winner of the recycling and energy saving competition, together with Boipelo Malope, Ms Green South Africa.
2 March 2012
Photo: Johan Roux


Sustainability, to live green, energy saving – call it what you like. This was the focus of the Clean Campus campaign that students on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State introduced last year. Apart from it being an opportunity to reward students for their hard work, experts on campus also got the chance to share interesting information with onlookers.

An interesting fact to chew on is that the UFS’s electricity account is to increase by an estimated R38 million rand - from R19 million in 2008 to R57 million in 2012. Another interesting morsel - the university generates 20 tons of waste a day.

Although the university will implement a waste management plan in the near future, experts agree: save water, save electricity and do not squander our precious energy resources.

Madelief Residence was crowned the winner of the Clean Campus campaign. The residence’s reward – a cheque of R1 500. Kestell was second and won a gas braaier.

The competition will be the project of the SRC: Student Development and Environmental Affairs in future.

In the recycling and energy saving competition, which attracted entries from 18 of the 23 residences, Kyalami was placed first, Roosmaryn second and Akasia third.
 

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