Prof. Namrita Lall



Namrita Lall is a Professor and NRF rated researcher in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP), and holds a NRF/DST Chair in Plant health Products from Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). She obtained her PhD in 2001 and currently leads a research group in the Medicinal Plant Sciences Programme. 


Office: Plant Sciences Complex 3-39

Tel:  +27 (0)12 420 2524

Email: [email protected]


Medicinal Plant Science Programme

The main vision of Professor Lall’s research is to better use South Africa's medicinal plants for the benefit of its people. The programme investigates the medicinal plants for tuberculosis, cancer, and skin-related diseases. Hepatoprotective and immunomodulatory effects of the plants are also evaluated.  

The aim therefore, is not only the isolation and purification of pharmacologically relevant phytochemicals as new lead compounds, but also the investigation of complex extracts and semi-pure fractions to use in the medicinal plant industry related to the primary health care of people.

Professor Lall works closely with industry partners as well as traditional health practitioners for the commercialisation of new plant-based herbal products. Bioprospecting, ethical issues, intellectual property rights and benefit-sharing related to this process are some of the tasks of high priority.

DST/NRF South African Research Chair

Professor Lall holds a DST/NRF South African Research Chair from Indigenous Knowledge Systems as part of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI). The goal of the Research Chairs initiative is to strengthen the research and innovation capacity of public universities. The key objectives that Professor Lall meets as part of this initiative include:


  • Contributing to the expansion of  the scientific research and innovation capacity of South Africa (SA);
  • Improving SA’s international research while responding to social and economic challenges in SA
  • Attracting and retaining excellent researchers and scientists;
  • Increasing the production of masters and doctoral graduates; and
  • Creating research career pathways for young and mid-career researchers, with a strong research, innovation and human capital development output trajectory.​


Read more about The South African Research Chairs Initiative


Professor Lall has been placed in the top 1% of the Essential Science Indicators list for publication citations in the discipline of Pharmacology and Toxicology. She has led the discovery of a number of medicinal plants with valuable biological activities, many of which have been patented. Four South African patents and 6 PCT patents of which 3 have been granted in the US, 2 in the European Union, 2 in the ARIPO states, and 1 in China, South Korea, Australia, India and Japan.



A total of 19 prototype extracts prepared in Professor Lall’s lab have undergone extensive research and development (including in vitro validation, pre-clinical and clinical trials). Many of these prototypes have been patented and have even been licenced out to the manufacturers. A product to reduce hyperpigmentation has been commercialised nationally and internationally, whereas a separate complementary medicine that can be used against tuberculosis, or as an immune-booster, has been commercialised nationally.



Books and publications

To date, Professor Lall has co-authored over 180 research articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as 46 book chapters. Furthermore, she has edited 4 books on medicinal plants, with a 5th book in the pipeline.


Selected recent publications


Rummun, N., Payne, B., Blom van Staden, A., Twilley, D., Houghton, B., Horrocks, P., Li, W., Lall, N., Bahorun, T., Neergheen, V. S. (2023). Pluripharmacological potential of Mascarene endemic plant leaf extracts. Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology. 47, 102572. (Impact factor 4.259).

Jugreet, B.S.; Lall, N.; Anina Lambrechts, I.; Reid, A.-M.; Maphutha, J.; Nel, M.; Hassan, A.H.; Khalid, A.; Abdalla, A.N.; Van, B.L.; Mahomoodally, M.F (2022). In Vitro and In Silico Pharmacological and Cosmeceutical Potential of Ten Essential Oils from Aromatic Medicinal Plants from the Mascarene Islands. Molecules, 27, 8705. 

Twilley, D., Thipe, V.C., Kishore, N., Bloebaum, P., Roma-Rodrigues, C., Baptista, P. V., Fernandes, A. R., Selepe, M, A., Langhansova, L., Katti, K., Lall, N. (2022). Antiproliferative activity of Buddleja saligna (Willd) against melanoma and in vivo modulation of angiogenesis. Pharmaceuticals. 15, 1497. (Impact factor 5.677).

Devkota, H. P., Paudel, K. R., Lall, N., Tomczyk, M., & Atanasov, A. G. (2022). Editorial: Pharmacology of Plant Polyphenols in Human Health and Diseases. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 

Ho, K., Efrat, N., Schreiber, K. L., Vo, P. H., De Canha, M. N., Blom Van Staden, A., Payne, B. D., Oosthuizen, C. B., Twilley, D., Lei, Z., Sumner, L. W., Brown, C. R., Lall, N., Lin, C. (2022). Assessing anti-inflammatory activities and compounds in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Agriculture 11, 936. DOI:  (Impact factor 2.315).

Lambrechts, Isa A., Velaphi C. Thipe, Kattesh V. Katti, Vusani Mandiwana, Michel Lonji Kalombo, Suprakas Sinha Ray, Rirhandzu Rikhotso, Arno Janse van Vuuren, Tenille Esmear, and Namrita Lall (2022). Targeting Acne Bacteria and Wound Healing In Vitro Using Plectranthus aliciae, Rosmarinic Acid, and Tetracycline Gold Nanoparticles. Pharmaceuticals 15, no. 8: 933. (Impact factor: 5.677)

Loggenberg, S. R., Twilley, D., De Canha, M. N., Meyer, D., Lall, N.. (2022). The activity of Aloe arborescens Miller varieties on wound-associated pathogens, wound healing and growth factor production. DOI: (Impact factor 2.315).

Vedpal Singh, Namrita Lall, Ashish Wadhwani and Sangai P. Dhanabal. (2022). GC-MS analysis of Curculigo orchiodes and medicinal herbs with cytotoxic, hepatoprotective attributes of ethanolic extract from Indian origin. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. DOI:

Marizé Nel, Analike Blom van Staden, Danielle Twilley, Carel B. Oosthuizen, Debra Meyer, Siva Kumar, Masilamani E. Sobhia, Judey Pretorius, Namrita Lall. (2022). Potential of succulents for eczema-associated symptoms. South African Journal of Botany. (Impact factor 2.315).

Twilley, D., Reva, O., Meyer, D., Lall, N. (2022). Mupirocin promotes wound healing by stimulating growth factor production and proliferation of human keratinocytes. Frontiers in Pharmacology. DOI: 13 (Impact factor: 5.810).

Loggerenberg, S. R., Twilley, D., De Canha, M. N., Meyer, D., Mabena, E. C., Lall, N. (2022). Evaluation of wound healing and antibacterial potential of Greyia radlkoferi Szyszyl. ethanolic leaf extract. DOI: 13 Frontiers in Pharmacology. (Impact factor: 5.810).

Lymperis, P., Tomou, E.M., De Canha, M.N., Lall, N., Skaltsa, H. (2022). Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacology of Elegia Species: A Review. Scientia Pharmaceutica. DOI: 90(1), 4  (Impact factor: 3.429).

Books edited by Prof Lall


Medicinal Plants for Holistic Health and Wellbeing 2017. (ISBN: 9780128124758).

Underexplored potentially therapeutic plants from Sub-Saharan Africa 2020. (ISBN: 9780128168141).

Aquatic Plants: Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Applications 2020. (ISBN: 9780367518462).

Medicinal Plants for Cosmetics, Health and Diseases 2022. (ISBN: 9781003108375).


Research Networking Societies

The African Phytomedicine Scientific Society

The African Phytomedicine Scientific Society (APSS), which was founded by Prof. Lall and a few of her students, aims to stimulate and facilitate the interaction of African researchers in the field with the intention to foster the scientific development of the continent within the area of ethnopharmacology and natural products research.


The main purpose of this group is to facilitate the communication and interaction of the network members. It is intended to share relevant information (i.e., scientific event information, call for fellowships), provide the possibility for personal and professional exchange and stimulate collaboration (laboratory and equipment sharing). 



APSS LinkedIn:

APSS Twitter: @theAPSSnetwork

APSS email: [email protected]m



The International Society for Ethnopharmacology



Short Courses

Phytomedicine and Natural Product short course - 2023

The Phytomedicine and Natural Product short course provides practical and theoretical skills to researchers who specialise in the discovery of new natural products from plants. The intention is to create a multidisciplinary and collaborative course that incorporates plant science, phytochemistry, pharmacology, plant pathology as well as safety and efficacy issues of commonly used phyto-drugs.



Successful applicants to be announced on 23 March 2023

The online course will commence on 1 April 2023

Contact sessions will run on 18-20 September 2023


Online Profiles 






Postdoctoral Fellows


Dr Danielle Twilley


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Dr Marco Nuno De Canha


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Dr Anna-Mari Reid


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Postgraduate Students

PhD Candidates 

Tenille Esmear

Project Title - “The quest to discover an adjuvant phyto drug for the treatment of lung cancer and precancerous lung conditions with plants of Southern Africa"


ResearchGate -


Bianca Payne

Project Title - “ A wrinkle in time; the effect of various extracts of Persicaria senegalensis of the maintenance of the dermal matrisome in photoageing skin”


ResearchGate -


Jacqueline Maphutha

Project Title - Inhibition of  VEGF in human malignant melanoma through the upregulation of PTEN using a bioactive compound isolated from HF-EtOH 


ResearchGate -


Marize' Nel

Project Title - “Potential mode of action of Juncus lomatophyllus gold nanoparticles against symptoms associated with eczema”


ResearchGate -


MSc Students


Samantha Rae Loggenberg

Project Title - “Investigating the antimetastatic activity of medicinal plants against breast cancer”


ResearchGate -


Brandon Alston

Project Title - “The evaluation of Medicinal plants against targets associated with COVID-19”


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Jonathan Seaman

Project Title - “The antibiofilm potential and therapeutic adjuvant properties of Salvia aurea and Sphedamnocarpus pruriens, against a model organism Mycobacterium smegmatis


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Bianca Diedericks

Project Title - “Antitubercular activity of 7-methyljuglone-loaded poly-(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles”


ResearchGate -



Rochelle de Kock

Project Title - “The feasibility of synthetic oleanolic and ursolic acid in combination for drug development against melanoma”


ResearchGate -


Jessica Ackron

Project Title - Discovery of plant-based novel therapeutics with anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties against COVID-19 using computational techniques


ResearchGate -


Talita Turvey

Project Title - “Antiproliferative activity in 2D and 3D melanoma models using Buddleja saligna Willd. and isolated compounds”


ResearchGate -


Jason Sampson

Project Title - “Horticultural and phytomedicinal investigation of dragon fruit (Hylocereus spp.) a crop new to South Africa."

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BSc. Hons


Tiego Gwen Sefoloshe

Project Title - “The potential of selected South African plants against opportunistic fungal infections associated with TB patients”


Charlize Collins

Project Title - “Evaluating three Tillansia species extracts for anti-acne and wound healing activity”


Rudolph Philippus Fouché

Project Title - “Identifying South African plants with potential UV-absorption properties for the development of natural SPF actives”





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