Can Artemisia Prevent Malaria?

A team of medical doctors in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Jerome Munyani and Michel Idumbo – have run clinical trials in Maniema province, enlisting the participation of 1 000 patients infected with malaria. The trials were run in compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) protocol.


The doctors compared Artemisia Annua and Artemisia Afra with conventional therapies (ACTs) available in the DRC – namely Coartem and ASAQ, which both contain Artemisinin derivatives. A sample of 502 patients were treated either with herbal Artemisia Afra or Artemisia Annua against 498 patients who were treated with Coartem or ASAQ.

In all cases, treatment with the herbs was superior to the conventional drugs in that there was a rapid fall of fever, elimination of blood parasites and total absence of parasitaemia on day 28 in 99.5% of patients; whereas treatment with Coartem or ASAQ produced only a 79.5% clearance of parasites on day 28.

Even more significant was the total absence of side-effects with the treatment of herbs whereas the conventional drugs caused diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, itching and low blood sugar in a significant number of the patients.

More importantly, treatment with the herbal remedies totally eliminated gametocytes responsible for parasite transmission from man to mosquito in all patients treated with the herbs, but not in all patients treated with the conventional drugs. For all parameters, herbal treatment was significantly better than conventional therapy, yielding no side-effects and a 100% success rate.

Conclusion

Peter Moyo and fellow South African researchers investigated the activities of extracts from plant species traditionally used for malaria treatment against Plasmodium falciparum – Artemisia Afra being one of them. Their research substantiates the efficacy of traditional African plants used in malaria control to be effective on all levels – which encompass prevention, treatment, and blocking of malaria transmission (P Moyo et al Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 185).

Pierre Lutgen, a prominent researcher of herbal remedies in the treatment of malaria, says Artemisia Afra “will help heal Africa because the polytherapy offered by the plant not only eliminates parasites but boosts the immune system, thereby avoiding infection, reinfection and recrudescence”.


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