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Ozurumba et al

Greener Journal of Biomedical and Health Sciences

Vol. 2 (1), pp. 001-011, November 2016.

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 101816180



Artemisia annua (Qing Hao): Solved and Adaptively Met the Drug Resistance Challenge by Plasmodium Malaria Parasite. It’s other Chemotherapeutic attempt against Cancer; and Overall Implications on Public Health


*1Ozurumba LN, 2David J and 3Ukoh V


1School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Walden University, Minneapolis, United States of America.

2Department of Biological Sciences (Parasitology), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University ATBU, Bauchi, Bauchi State, Nigeria.

3Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Health Sciences/Medicine, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.


The plant herb Artemisia annua (Qing Hao) has been used in China for over 400years to treat malaria disease, which has a mostly higher prevalence in the tropics where it is more endemic. Also, it has been used to kill parasitic worms, as anti-microbial agents, and has found non-medicinal uses in the United States and Europe. The active anti-malarial compound in A. annua called Artemisinin was isolated in the 1970s.

                Evidence of drug resistance by malaria parasite to Artemisinin based monotherapy in some Southeast Asian countries propelled development and introduction of Artemisinin based combination therapies (ACTs) which the WHO now encourages over monotherapy.

                A research team in the United States appear to have pioneered a “chemotherapeutic research revolution in Cancer treatment” involving use of Artemisinin based compounds, with reported successes on human breast cancer cells in-vitro-from bench work, as the cancerous cells were killed within some hours on treatment with an Artemisinin based compound.

                With work on the first genetic map of A. annua done and published by a United Kingdom based research team, and on-going funded studies to develop more effective non-synthetic and semi-synthetic  analogues of Artemisinin underway, a plethora of more opportunities stand to become available to be exploited and utilized in other investigations; but whether this would translate to authenticated successes that could do well or/and pass anti-cancer drug screening yardsticks of related National Drug approving and standardization agencies remains the real task.

                Worthy of note is the discovery and use of some new and other herb plants which have been screened and found to show anti-cancer properties to battle cancer. This should complement efforts through studies on use of artemisinin and its derivative compounds to battle cancer.

                These efforts are part of the multi-faceted attempts by man against “these strange and deranged cells that grow for the sake of growth but with no clearly constituted means of modulating the growths”.

The historical developments in use of Artemisia/artemisinin and its various derivatives, the active chemical compounds, shortcomings and attempts and improvements in relation to malaria and cancer treatment have been elucidated in this article.


Key words: Artemisinin, combination therapy, anti-cancer, Plasmodium, genetic map.

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