In Africa, herbal medicines are often used as primary treatments for a range of ailments. However, traditional medicines are not well researched and are poorly regulated. Sutherlandia frutescens and S. microphylla belong to the Fabaceae family and are confined to South Africa. The two species are difficult to distinguish because they often grade into each other and some botanists consider them merely different forms of a single large and variable species. Sutherlandia enjoys a long history as a highly valued component of African Traditional Medicine and is regarded as the most profound and multi-purpose of the medicinal plants in Southern Africa, the indigenous, folk, and contemporary uses of Sutherlandia include; enhancing well-being, immune support, treatment for cancer, stress, depression and anxiety, etc. In this study the chemical composition / profile of S. frutescens and S. microphylla will be analysed using TLC, total phenolic content analysis, HPLC and NIRS. Total phenolic content will be determined in mg/g of gallic acid equivalent (GAE). Efforts will be made to develop a comprehensive harvesting protocol and to provide guidelines for the validation of raw materials.
Principal supervisor: Prof AM Viljoen
Co-supervisor: Dr M Manley (Stellenbosch)