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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

RIEP presents Science quiz for Grade 12 learners
2007-10-29

 

The Research Institute for Education Planning (RIEP) at the University of the Free State (UFS) presented a Science quiz for Grade 12 learners of secondary schools in Philippolis, Springfontein and Trompsburg as part of RIEP's Science intervention programme in the Southern Free State. The aim of the quiz was to enable learners to exhibit their knowledge of Science and to serve as an opportunity for them to prepare for the coming matric exam. The quiz, funded by BP Southern Africa, is part of TRAC South Africa, an international non-profit programme aimed at supporting and developing the education of science, maths and technology in secondary schools in South Africa. Here are, from the left: Mr Johnny Machedi (Department of Education, Free State), Koba Oerson, Ntswaki Mthimkulu, Mr Christiaan Eichstedt (Headmaster of Springfontein Secondary School), Innocentia Mdliki, Maditlhare Mathobanyana and Ceswin Oerson. All the learners are from Springfontein Secondary School, winner of the quiz.
Photo: Supplied
 

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