Chinese Plant Artemisia Annua Effectively Serves as Malaria Treatment
Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood, has been used as an effective Malaria treatment for thousands of years in Chinese Medicine. Now, western scientists have found that ingesting Artemisia, in its natural form, is more effective than the synthetic drugs commonly used to treat the infection.
Microbiology scientists at University of Massachussets, tested wether there is a better way to consume Artemisia plant, in order to treat Malaria. So, they made a comparative study by evaluating the efficacy of oral delivery of the dried leaves of whole plant (WP), to a comparable dose of pure artemisinin drug, in a rodent malaria model (Plasmodium chabaudi). They found that a single dose of whole plant Artemisia (containing 24 mg/kg artemisinin in its natural form) reduces parasitaemia more effectively than a comparable dose of purified drug.
This increased efficacy may result from a documented 40-fold increase in the bioavailability of artemisinin compound in the blood of mice fed the whole plant, in comparison to those administered synthetic drug.
How does Whole Artemisia plant treat Malaria?
Malaria is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Once the infected Mosquito bites, the parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.
Artemisia treats Malaria by killing the mosquitoes’ parasites. This is only possible because of a content within the plant called endoperoxide Sesquiterpene lactones, which through a chemical process, kills parasites through oxidation. In addition to its antibiotic activity, artemisinin stimulates macrophages, an important component of the immune response to protozoan infestation.
Current Treatments and the future of Artemisia as a possible Anti-Malarial treatment
Scientists involved in the Artemisia study, explained that availability might dependant on:
• Its compatibility with public health forestalling evolution of drug resistance, which has become a problem with the rise of cases of synthetic drug-resistant falciparum Malaria;
• If its inexpensive to produce;
• If Locally grown to be processed;
Western medicine has not yet adopted this ancient plant as the sole method of treating Malaria. The current treatments are based in synthetic artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), along with other synthetic drugs designed to treat Malaria infection.
Such results indicate that Artemisia might prove to be an effective Malaria treatment to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality. According to The World Health organisation, in December 2016, there were 212 million cases of malaria in 2015 and 429 000 deaths.