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Artemisia /ˌɑːrtɪˈmiːziə/ is a large, diverse genus of plants with between 200 and 400 species belonging to the daisy family Asteraceae. Common names for various species in the genus include mugwort, wormwood, and sagebrush.
Artemisia comprises hardy herbaceous plants and shrubs, which are known for the powerful chemical constituents in their essential oils. Artemisia species grow in temperate climates of both hemispheres, usually in dry or semiarid habitats. Notable species include A. vulgaris (common mugwort), A. tridentata (big sagebrush), A. annua (sage wort), A. absinthium (wormwood), A. dracunculus (tarragon), and A. abrotanum (southern wood). The leaves of many species are covered with white hairs.
Most species have strong aromas and bitter tastes from terpenoids and sesquicentennial lac-tones, which discourage herb ivory, and may have had a selective advantage. The small flowers are wind-pollinated. Artemisia species are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidopterist species.
Safe African Medicinal Plants for Clinical Studies
Artemisia afra (Asteraceae)
Artemisia afra is perennial shrub commonly found in most areas of South Africa and is used to treat disease such as chest conditions, coughs, colds, heartburns, hemorrhoids, fevers, malaria, asthma, diabetes mellitus, and sore throat [22,23]. Scientific reports have indicated that the plant has bronchodilator, anti inflammatory, antihistamine, and narcotic analgesic properties [23,24]. Acute toxicity studies in mice showed an LD50 of 2450 and 8960 mg/kg for the interpersonal and oral administration respectively. Also the chronic toxicity study (92-day treatment with the extract) exhibited no significant changes in the hematological and biochemical parameters, except for a transient decrease in aspartame aminotransferase activity . This high level of safety in animal studies and good biological activities present this plant as a good candidate for clinical trials.
The genus Artemisia L. is one of the largest genera in the Asteraceae family, consisting of more than 500 species distributed mainly in the northern temperate regions of the world. Many species have been used in various treatments since ancient times as folk remedies.
Artemisia annua L. is a fragrant annual herb widely distributed in Asia, Europe, and North America. The use of this plant (commonly named sweet wormwood, annual wormwood, or qinghaosu) in Chinese traditional medicine was recorded before 168 BC. In 1971, artemisinin, a sesquicentennial lac tone with antimalarial properties, was isolated from this plant. The search for other active compounds has led to the discovery and isolation of many phytochemicals and Es with interesting antibacterial activity. Hydro distilled volatile oil obtained from the aerial parts of A. annua cultivated near Sarajevo, Bosnia, was analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (CG-MS) . More than 100 compounds were identified, representing 95.5% of the total oil. The major constituents of the EO were oxygenated monotones, artemisia ketone (30.7%; Fig. 14-1), and camphor (15.8%). The high percentages of these compounds proved that this EO clearly belongs to the monoterpene chemo type. In contrast, the content of sesquicentennial compounds was relatively low (18.2%). This EO (10 mg/ml) exhibited antimicrobial activity against strains of S. aureus, a common species of staphylococci that causes infections, and S. pneumonia. Artemisia camphor L. showed activity against counterintelligence, anthropocentric, and enteroinvasive E. coli, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 500–800 μg/ml .
Does artemisinin help treat cancer?
Artemisinin is a chemical compound in a traditional Chinese herb called Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood. Some research suggests that it may show promise in future cancer treatments.
Research indicates that the compound could inhibit the growth of tumors and metastasis.
However, this research has typically used animal models. No strong clinical trials in humans suggest that these benefits extend to us. Determining the true effects of the compound in people will require further research.
In this article, we look at the evidence behind artemisinin as a potential cancer treatment, how people use it, and its possible side effects.
What is artemisinin?
Artemisinin is a compound derived from the sweet wormwood plant, which practitioners of Chinese medicine often use.
Sweet wormwood is native to Asia. It has fern-like leaves and yellow flowers. People have usually used this plant in traditional and homeopathic treatments for:
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend a form of artemisinin for treating severe malaria.
Can artemisinin help treat cancer?
The Artemisia annua plant may have anticancer properties, though there is currently no strong evidence that it can help fight cancer in humans.
The investigations into its anticancer properties tend to have small sample sizes or use animal models instead of humans.
Some researchers believe that artemisinin interacts with iron to form free radicals in the body. Free radicals are compounds that kill cells. Cancerous cells absorb a lot of iron, which makes them potentially much more susceptible to damage from these free radicals.
A group of researchers looked at all of the research, conducted between 1983 and 2018, into the effects of artemisinin and its derivatives on cancer, and they reported the following:
- Several studies suggest that artemisinin and its synthetic forms can target cancer cells when combined with chemotherapy.
- Artemisinin may produce fewer side effects than traditional cancer treatments.
- Study sizes tended to be small, which means that their results are less reliable.
- Researchers need further studies to know how safe artemisinin is for humans and how artemisinin affects cancer cells.
- They also need further studies to determine how artemisinin interacts with cancer drugs.
A 2015 review, which looked at 127 investigations into the effects of antimalarial s on cancer, also suggested that artemisinin could have anticancer properties. It similarly notes that there has not yet been enough research in humans to understand the true effects.
Another research paper, published in 2012, identified potential benefits to using artemisinin in cancer treatments.
The authors reported that simple compounds of artemisinin are less potent and break down more quickly than traditional cancer treatments. This could mean that people who use this therapy in the future require high, frequent doses.
Despite the lack of high-quality, large-scale research into the effects of artemisinin on cancer in humans, some scientists remain hopeful.
Artemisia L. is a genus of small herbs and shrubs found in northern temperate regions. It belongs to the important family Asteraceae, one of the most numerous plant groupings, which comprises about 1000 genera and over 20000 species. Artemisia has a broad spectrum of bio activity, owing to the presence of several active ingredients or secondary metabolites, which work through various modes of action. It has widespread pharmacological activities and has been used as traditional medicine since ancient times as an anthelmintic, antispasmodic, anti rheumatic, and antibacterial agent and for the treatment of malaria, hepatitis, cancer, inflammation, and menstrual-related disorders. This review comprises the updated information about the ethnological uses and health benefits of various Artemisia spp. and general information about bioactive compounds and free radicals.