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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

Delegation from a medical institute in China visits the UFS
2007-09-12

 

A senior delegation from Changchun Advanced Medical Institute (CAMI) in China recently visited the University of the Free State (UFS) to explore possibilities of cooperation, especially in nursing science. Areas of focus will include staff and student exchange, semester abroad programmes, collaborative research projects and capacity building initiatives in English proficiency and various other courses. The possibility for students from CAMI to pursue a post-basic bachelor’s degree programme at the UFS School of Nursing will also be explored. This will be one of the first formal agreements between the UFS and an institution in China. The agreement will be formalised during a reciprocal visit led by Prof. Letticia Moja (Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS) to Changchun during September. Pictured here are, from the left: Dr Yuan Zhao Xin (International Communication, CAMI), Prof. Anita van der Merwe (Head of the UFS School of Nursing), Prof. Gert van Zyl (Head of the UFS School of Medicine), Prof. Dr Xin Li (Chief Secretary, CAMI), Dr Santie van Vuuren (Head of the School for Allied Health Professions at the UFS), Prof. Moja and Dr Aldo Stroebel (Head of Internationalisation at the UFS).
Photo: Supplied
 

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