8 July 2021

TUT indigenous herbal medicines authority honoured for research

Prof Alvaro Viljoen, Director: SAMRC Herbal Drugs Research Unit at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and DST-NRF Chair in Phytomedicine, received the IPUF AWARD 2021 for his research of indigenous herbal medicines and developing research capacity, at the 23rd Indigenous Plant Use Forum (IPUF), held on 5 and 6 July 2021.

According to the organisers of IPUF 2021, the Indigenous Plant Use Forum or better known as IPUF, was started to promote the cultural, socio-economic and scientific benefits to be derived from the sustainable use of the southern African flora. Funded by The National Research Foundation (NRF), the annual symposium, now in its 23rd year, have been unique, multicultural, and multi-disciplinary events that have served as a meeting point for businesspeople, academics, traditional healers, anthropologists, resource managers, conservationists, policy makers and anyone interested in the sustainable use of the southern African flora.

Honoured as this year’s Plenary Keynote Speaker, Prof Viljoen, who is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Elsevier, Impact factor 4.36), delivered his presentation entitled: The application of classic and modern pharmacognosy in monographing African traditional medicines – a botanical travelogue augmenting the various speaker’s contributions to this year’s conference theme “Exploring the rational and sustainable use of indigenous plants.”

Prof Viljoen is specifically recognised for his contribution to developing standards and quality control protocols for commercially important South African botanicals. He and his team have just completed a book on the Phytochemical Profiling of Commercially Important South African Plants, which comprises a carefully selected group of plant species that are of interest to researchers as well as industry partners who would like to investigate commercialisation of the plant species. The high-level chromatographic fingerprints and analysis will be of value and are a great improvement to previous investigations. The book presents 26 botanicals that have been selected based on commercial relevance. This work will be extremely valuable to researchers in the field wanting to rapidly identify the constituents in these plants and for those who want to prepare formulations of the plant material for commercial application. 


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