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It is hoped that the garden will expose student to phytol-medicine and teach them about a wider range of healing strategies from different traditions.

The herbal garden will enhance research into drug discoveryThe herbal garden will enhance research into drug discoveryTHE new medicinal plant garden at the University of the Witwatersrand will undoubtedly be the greenest facility on campus.

It was unveiled on Thursday, 3 May at the university's health science faculty in Parktown in one of its 90th birthday celebrations. The garden, which now has more than 400 plants, was revamped by Wits in partnership with City Parks.

Speaking on behalf of the member of the mayoral committee for community development, Chris Vondo, councillor Theresa van der Merwe highlighted the importance of the medicinal garden. She noted that the medical benefits of indigenous plants were not well documented in sub-Saharan Africa, nor exploited to achieve their full potential.

"We are therefore optimistic that this garden will provide the necessary medicinal breakthroughs that we desperately need to resolve health care challenges in Africa and around the world," she said. "Herbal remedies are being used successfully to treat ill patients globally requiring relief from fatigue, indigestion, migraine and depression."

Plants in the garden include St John's wort, aloe ferox, Cape honeysuckle, snake flower and blue lily.

The dean of the faculty, Professor Ahmed Wadee, said the medicinal garden would enhance teaching and research into drug discovery. "The medicinal garden will offer an incredible opportunity to bring students together and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration in the study of herbal plants," said Wadee.

Professor Rob Moore, the Wits deputy vice-chancellor, said the herbal garden would renew appreciation of phytol-medicine by exposing students to a wider range of healing strategies from different traditions. "The garden will help students to become increasingly aware of the full range of other health traditions practised elsewhere on the planet."