Artemisia annua leaf has been an important therapeutic herb over the past 2,000 years in both Europe and Asia and is also recognized by the World Health Organization as an effective antimalarial “drug”. It has become the subject of intensive research following the discovery of its antimalarial component artemisinin. Phytochemical analysis has identified various compounds including steroids, coumarins, phenolics, flavonoids, purines, triterpenoids, lipids, and aliphatic compounds, monoterpenoids, essential oils, alkaloid, and glycoside. Artemisia has been used in the alternative medicine community for 20+ years mainly due to its strong broad spectrum antiparasitic properties. It is though, as you can see, much more broad spectrum.
Therapeutics: studies have been carried out to look at the antimicrobial potential of the essential oils obtained from Artemisia annua. These studies revealed that the essential oil showed antimicrobial potential against wide range of Gram-negative bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria, and fungi. Significant inhibitory activity of the oil was found against bacterial strains, including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Enterococcus hirae. Artemisia annua extracts possess remarkable antibiotic potential against fungi particularly Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans.
Antiparasitic Activity: research studies suggest that artemisinin drugs have good antiparasitic potential for Leishmania, Trypanosoma Babesia, Eimeria or coccidiosis, trematodal blood fluke, Schistosoma spp.( Schistosoma japonicum, Schistosoma mansoni, and Schistosoma haematobium).
Artemisia also Suppresses Th17 and thus may be helpful in autoimmune conditions. Ethanol extract of the plant showed immunosuppressive effects on autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. In established arthritis, an artemisinin compound profoundly inhibited disease progression, reduced IL-17A, and RORgt mRNA expression and suppressed pro-inflammatory mediator expression in arthritic joints.
One studied how the dried leaf is actually preferred to an extract. Mice needed 45-fold more artemisinin (mixed with mouse chow) than artemisinin consumed via dried leaf in order for artemisinin to be detected in the serum, thus the dried leaf was more bioavailable than the extract.
Many studies have been conducted in Africa comparing dried artemisia leaf, arteminism and artemisia leaf tea. Reviewing all these studies researchers conclude delivery via tea is therapeutically not very efficacious. Mice fed dried Artemisia annua leaves showed better therapeutic results than the tea. Results of pharmacokinetic studies using dried leaf delivery in mice are also consistent with the antimalarial success of the human trial. The promising results of the studies using oral consumption of dried leaf A. annua may offer a more sustainable treatment for malaria, especially in low-income developing countries. This will eventually lead to improved understanding of how the whole plant therapy works better than the pure drug.
Besides its antimicrobial activities studies have showed artemisia to be useful for the following: anemia, asthma, diarrhea, fever reduction, dengue, lupus, athletes foot, chagas, viral hepatitis, and various skin diseases.