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24 March 2018
Kraalbos could help solve multi-drug resistance
The centuries-old traditional use of kraalbos to treat skin infections, eye inflammation, toothaches and wounds, sparked UWC alumna Dr Tiza Ng’uni’s investigation of medicinal plants as a source for new antimicrobial agents to combat multi-drug resistance.

“Multidrug resistance is a growing concern worldwide. The rate at which resistance develops is greater than the rate at which new drugs are being produced, and this puts a strain on the healthcare sector and hence the need for alternative treatment options,” says Dr Ng’uni.

Explaining her interest in kraalbos, Dr Ng’uni says, “The rich and diverse flora in South Africa was the core of my research study, using Galenia africana (kraalbos), a South African medicinal plant that has been shown to possess antifungal and antimycobacterial properties. My PhD research was aimed at assessing the toxicity profile of Galenia africana using in vitro and in vivo acute toxicity studies, in addition to evaluating its potential antimicrobial, antifungal and anticancer properties.”

The research study results revealed that G. africana could be employed in the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections, as well as cancer.
Dr Ng’uni, who graduated in 2017, says she chose to study Medical Biosciences (MBS) at UWC because “UWC offers an excellent learning environment, including some of the best state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment.”

She is proud to have impacted on the lives of many students as part of the work-study programme in MBS, where she not only facilitates lab work and co-supervises BSc Honours and MSc students, but has lectured in Anatomy and Physiology as well as Medical Microbiology to Nursing, Dentistry and MBS undergraduate students.