Research Institute of Choice in Africa on Traditional Medicine, Medicinal and Indigenous Food Plants
To be responsive to national and international needs through excellence in relevant research and innovation on traditional medicine, indigenous medicinal and food plants. The Institute seeks to serve as Eswatini’s leading institution for the design, coordination and execution of multidisciplinary research in traditional medicine, medicinal and indigenous wild edible plants. It strives to combine the expertise of scientists and Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs), with a view to producing plant-derived pharmaceuticals and to promote the use of traditional medicine in national health care. It also seeks to raise general awareness regarding the nutritional value of under-utilized indigenous edible plants.
The objectives of the Institute are to:
- conduct ethnobotanical surveys for indigenous non-cultivated fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants in order to establish and maintain a database;
- document available Bio-resources and their technological exploitation;
- Establish a gene bank for under-utilised indigenous fruits and vegetables which could be used to broaden the food base;
- propagate food and medicinal plants in order to conserve biological diversity;
- conduct bioassays of medicinal and indigenous food plants with the aim of isolating and identifying bioactive compounds from plants;
- develop isolated compounds into new drugs for the treatment of diseases;
- provide a forum for the meeting of researchers on medicinal and food plants with nutritionists and traditional health practitioners (THPs) in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect;
- ensure that the research conducted in the Institute contributes towards food security and improved healthcare for the Eswatini nation and beyond, thus leading to economic development; and
- work towards making traditional medicine a safe and acceptable alternative system of health care.