Artemisia Flower

Artemisia is a large, diverse genus of plants with between 200 and 400 species belonging to the daisy family Asteraceae.

Most species have strong aromas and bitter tastes from terpenoids and sesquiterpene lactones, which discourage herbivory, 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 Lepidoptera species. Artemisia annua is best sown in rows.

That facilitates weeding, which has to be done mechanically or mannually since no chemical crop protection agents are admitted.

It is recommended to sow 1.4 – 2 seeds per square meter. The fertilizer requirements are on a low level. Potassium should be used as base fertilizer.

It is taken up by the plant during the whole growing season. Nitrogen is required during early branching stages, an amount of approximately 70 kg N/ha is sufficient for the plant.

Phosphate on the other hand is required during the blooming stages. Phosphate fertilization can lead to a higher artemsinin content in the leaves.

The application of salicylic acid on the leaves shortly before harvesting the plant also can raise its artemisinin content.

Artemisinin is a sesquiterpene lactone with an endoperoxide bridge and has been produced semisynthetically as an antimalarial drug.

The efficacy of tea made from A. annua in the treatment of malaria is dubious.

Artemisia flower
Artemisia flower

Research has found that artemesinin is not soluble in water and the concentrations in these infusions are considered insufficient to treat malaria.

In 2004, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health changed Ethiopia’s first line antimalaria drug from sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (Fansidar), which has an average 36% treatment failure rate, to artemether/lumefantrine (Coartem), a drug therapy containing artemesinin which is 100% effective when used correctly, despite a worldwide shortage at the time of the needed derivative from A. annua.

A 2012 review said that artemisinin-based remedies are the most effective drugs for the treatment of malaria.

A 2013 review suggested that although Artemisia annua may not cause hepatotoxicity, haematotoxicity, or hyperlipidemia, it should be used cautiously during pregnancy due to a potential risk of embryotoxicity at a high dose.

Of the Asteraceae family, the silver mound Artemisia is the only member with a prostrate, spreading habit.

Unlike others of the species, the silver mound plant is not invasive.

Often called silver mound wormwood, this cultivar is a relatively dwarf plant. Scattered among tall, flowering summer blooms, the silver mound plant serves as a long lasting ground cover, shading out growing weeds and further reducing silver mound care.