All About Artemisia

Artemisia is a plant compound that consists of many hidden benefits. Research confirms that the African variety – Artemisia Afra – has similar medicinal benefits attributable to those found in its Chinese relative, Artemisia Annua...

According to N.I. Fiage (PhD) in Materia Medica, the active malarial compound isolated from the leaves of Artemisia Annua is called qinghaosu, which means “green herb”. This was then given the name “artemisinin” as it originates from the Artemisia plant.

A chemical formulation of artemisinin has been manufactured in China under the name “Artesunate”. This formulation may cause severe side-effects from long-term use, and is not legally registered for sale in South Africa. In its natural form however, artemisinin is present in almost all Artemisia species (to a greater or lesser degree).

Both Artemisia Afra and Annua (the Chinese variety) induce a more rapid reduction of parasites than any other known anti-malarial drug. While other components in the plant play a bigger role in combating malaria, research* confirms that the antimalarial activity of the plant is determined by the complex structure of all compounds contained in the plant, and are more effective than a single constituent. These components work synergistically and play a critical role in preventing and treating malaria.

Recent scientific research also confirms that it has an extremely rapid onset once hydrolysed in the cell, and will eliminate the malaria virus rapidly. Because of the rapid action, the course of medication does not have to be taken over extended periods before entering or after leaving a malaria-stricken area.

Unfortunately, confusion has been created by researchers who have replicated the major activity of Artemisia’s natural compound – artemisinin – and have developed a synthetic version to be produced and sold en masse.

*Researcher Wernsdorfer (1999) concluded that parasites would find it easier to develop resistance to a single agent than to a battery of anti-malarial compounds contained in a whole Artemisia plant.

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