Artemisia annua (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
Introduction
List of species


Artemisia annua L.


Protologue: Sp. pl. 2: 847 (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Sweet wormwood (Am)
  • Vietnam: thanh hao, thanh hao hoa vàng, ng[air] si.

Distribution

Eastern Europe to India, Indo-China, China and Taiwan, naturalized in Japan and North America, sometimes as an adventive plant in western Europe; locally cultivated as an ornamental in Java, but on a larger scale for medicinal purposes in Vietnam and China.

Uses

An extract is highly valued as a cure for malaria; the isolated active compound (artemisinin) is the basis for commercially traded medicaments. The plant is also used in folk medicine to treat jaundice and anorexia. The seeds are used in China to treat flatulence, dyspepsia and tuberculosis, and plants in the bud stage in China and Indo-China as febrifuge and to treat boils and skin diseases.

Observations

An annual branched herb up to 150 cm tall (in cultivation sometimes up to 300 cm tall) with ribbed stem; leaves bipinnatifid or tripinnatifid, up to 12 cm long, with linear, 0.3-1 mm wide pectinately dentate segments, glabrous; heads in rather large panicles, 1.5-2.5 mm long, central flowers bisexual, corolla yellowish; fruit obovoid, 0.6-1 mm long and glabrous. A. annua is locally a common weed on waste grounds and in fields. It is reported that only plants from southern China (Sichuan Province) and northern Vietnam contain abundant artemisinin. This intra-specific variation ranges up to a ten-fold higher artemisinin content compared to plants from other regions.

Selected sources

10, 11, 12, 38, 39, 97, 193, 246, 361, 394, 724, 748, 872, 878, 903, 1032, 1033, 1035, 1061, 1126, 1130, 1262, 1287, 1585, 1654.

Authors

Nguyen Tien Ban, Vu Xuan Phuong & Charles B. Lugt