Symposium explores exploitation value of wealth of indigenous plants

Eloff said that the aim of the symposium was to highlight success stories in the economic use of indigenous plants, focussing on any aspect with commercial potential, including medicinal, nutritional, fruit, cosmetic and floral.

Funded by the European Union, the symposium is held under the auspices of the Association for African Medicinal Plant Standards (AAMPS) in collaboration with the Centre for Research Action in Africa, and Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural Plant Products (ASNAPP).

The symposium is geared to encourage research and development and to convince policy makers and funders of the potential and work involved in getting a product to market, as well as to improve networking between different SADC countries and role players..

Delegates will explore issues ranging from the initial discovery of beneficial indigenous plants to efficacy evaluation, safety evaluation, patenting, cultivation, manufacturing, and clinical trials, to registration and marketing, access and benefit sharing. The annual general meeting of the Association for African Medicinal Plants will also take place during the symposium..

Interesting presentations include:
  • an overview of the roles of wild vegetables in Southern Africa
  • the potential use of the Queen of the Night cactus to control worm infection in sheep
  • scientific validation of an herbal remedy for the affordable treatment of HIV and opportunistic infections
  • the role of African diet in the occurrence of digestive and liver cancers
  • integration of African traditional medicine into health care systems
  • commercialisation and export of herbal plants and extracts from Southern Africa

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