One of South Africa’s youngest and brightest budding researchers is working on finding an answer to a monumental question that has for years been asked in the health industry – are plants, used for generations by traditional healers as effective as or better than western medicine?
Tabisa Diniso is investigating the success or otherwise of a plant, Dalbergiella Welwitschii, used by traditional healers to treat dementia. Diniso hopes that her research will help bridge the gap between traditional medicine and western medicine by giving scientific proof of the efficacy of Dalbergiella Welwitschii. Her hope is the success of her probe will lead to the creation a national drug template and potential livelihood, through the commercialisation of the plant through growth and packaging of the medicinal plant.
Dementia is a syndrome of progressive deterioration of cognitive abilities associated with psychiatric and behavioural disturbances as well as difficulties in carrying out daily functions, which finally leads to memory loss. Dementia can be caused by aging, physical and or chemical injuries, or neurodegenerative diseases which in most cases would affect the quality of learning and memory of the concerned individuals. The side effects that synthetic drugs have and the growing rate of this disease among middle to old-age South Africans promoted this study. Diniso’s study investigates the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cholinesterase inhibitory potential of Dalbergiella Welwitschii with an aim of authenticating the efficacy of this plant, improving the indigenous knowledge systems.