South Africa commits to herbal research

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The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is teaming up with local supplier, Afriplex, to investigate and market local botanicals with an initial focus on the plant Elephantorrhiza elephantina.

“The roots of this plant are commonly used by indigenous people for a wide range of ailments including diarrhoea and dysentery, stomach disorders, haemorrhoids and perforated ulcers and as emetics,”​ CSIR said. “It is also popular for the treatment of skin diseases and acne.”

Indications such as colds and flu, allergies, male pattern baldness, hair loss and erectile dysfunction will be studied, with cosmecuetical applications highlighted.

“The CSIR has done groundbreaking research and we are proud to be the partner that will take this research from Source to Shelf,”​ said Afriplex chief executive officer, Danie Nel.

CSIR noted only few of the estimated 24,000 plants in South Africa have botanical medicine registrations, while 70 per cent of South Africans consult 200,000 traditional healers.

“This partnership demonstrates that South African organisations can boast registered herbal medicine derived from the botanical specimens available in this country, instead of these products being imported from overseas,”​ CSIR said.

“By adding value locally and through the application of South African know-how and technology, a solid platform is created to present products typical of Africa in the international arena.”

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