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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, Medi-Clinic and ER 24 co-operate
2007-09-06

 

Dr Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector: Student Affairs recently signed a contract on behalf of the University of the Free State (UFS) with Medi-Clinic and ER24. The contract stipulates that the UFS will use Medi-Clinic as its main service provider for its medical services at the university’s rugby stadium (Shimla Park) and other main events on campus, such as the Volksblad annual arts festival. Medi-Clinic donated R60 000 per year over a period of three years to the UFS. The UFS also signed a contract with ER24 to utilise this institutions emergency services during emergencies on campus. The agreement is also valid for a period of three years. At the signing of the agreement were, from the left: Mr Sarel Venter (Area Manager of ER24), Mr Carl Bührmann (Hospital Manager of Medi-Clinic), Dr Moraka, Ms Vivienne Pistorius (Network Marketing Manager of Bloemfontein Medi-Clinic), and Dr Louis Holtzhausen (Director: Kovsie Health at the UFS).
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

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