The field of plant-made therapeutics in South Africa is well established in the form of exploitation of the country's considerable natural plant diversity, both in the use of native plants in traditional herbal medicines over many centuries, and in the more modern extraction of pharmacologically-active compounds from plants, including those known to traditional healers. In recent years, this has been added to by the use of plants for the stable or transient expression of pharmaceutically-important compounds, largely protein-based biologics and vaccines. South Africa has a well-developed plant biotechnology community, as well as a comprehensive legislative framework for the regulation of the exploitation of local botanic resources, and of genetically-modified organisms. The review explores the investigation of both conventional and recombinant plants for pharmaceutical use in South Africa, as well as describing the relevant legislative and regulatory frameworks. Potential opportunities for national projects, as well as factors limiting biopharming in South Africa are discussed. © 2011.
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