Medicinal Fynbos Research

The Vuyo Lab, based at Stellenbosch University, is named after its founder, Dr. Vuyo Mavumengwana who is a biochemist passionate about using natural products to fight disease. He believes that the plants, bacteria and fungi of the Fynbos ecosystem have the potential to yield new and effective drugs for diseases like breast cancer, brain cancer and tuberculosis. Recently, the Vuyo Lab made some exciting discoveries from Fynbos plants sampled at the Grootbos Nature Reserve. They identified four plants, Eriocephalus racemosa, Erica glabella, Hippia frutescens and Salvia africana-lutea, which contain a variety of bioactive compounds that kill breast cancer cells. These four plants are therefore potential candidates for drug development. Besides anticancer projects, other projects in the Vuyo Lab include evaluating Fynbos plants for anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities for the discovery of new tuberculosis drugs. The Vuyo Lab welcomes all forms of collaboration that will facilitate the discovery of effective pharmaceutical agents using natural products.

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