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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

Global exercise initiative launched on Bloemfontein Campus
2012-03-14

 

Healthier and fitter Kovsies
Photo: Anja Aucamp
13 March 2012

Staff and students are getting ready to sweat this week with the launch of the worldwide Exercise is Medicine Programme on the Bloemfontein Campus on 14 and 15 March 2012.

The programme will be introduced for the first time in Africa and our university is the only African university that forms part of the launch.

Exercise is Medicine is an initiative which encourages health care providers to include exercise when designing treatment plans for patients. The programme designed by the American College of Sports Medicine and it has a presence in countries such as Australia, Italy, China and Brazil.

As part of the programme launch, staff and students will attend presentations by prominent health practitioners and participate in a range of fitness activities such as Taebo and Zumba. The Wellness Division of the Centre for Health and Wellness has more activities planned for the rest of the year to keep Kovsies healthy. This will include a cycling event and netball, volleyball and soccer games.

Dr Louis Holtzhausen, Head of the Division Sport and Exercise Medicine, says that it has been proved unequivocally that regular exercise is good for people's health.

"It is clear that regular exercise should not only be promoted by the medical profession, but that physical activity should be monitored and recorded by doctors as a major modifiable risk factor for morbidity and mortality."

Dr Holtzhausen says one of the goals of the Exercise is Medicine Programme is that physical activity becomes a vital sign to be recorded, with doctors routinely discussing it with their individual patients.

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