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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

Meet Dr Mpho Jama, Prestige Scholar
2013-07-26

 

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector (right), visited Dr Jama at UCLA on his recent trip to the USA where this photograph was taken with Prof Bill Worger of UCLA’s History Department. Dr Jama will return to the UFS in December 2013.
26 July 2013

Dr Mpho Jama, Fulbright scholar, is a lecturer in Health Sciences Education and a member of the Vice-Chancellor's Prestige Scholars Programme since 2011. She is currently hosted by the Graduate School of Education at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), funded by Fulbright.

At UCLA, Dr Jama is collaborating with the David Geffen School of Medicine on a research paper focusing on stress among medical students.

She also works in collaboration with the Higher Education Research Institute on psycho-social and spiritual support for students in higher education with specific emphasis on medical students. Dr Jama has joined the Research Apprenticeship Committee of the Institute and participates in its activities.

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