The Artemisia Annua plant may still sound foreign to some people. In fact, this herbaceous plant has various health benefits that are a pity to miss, one of which is treating malaria.
Artemisia annua or often called sweet Annie or qinghao is a type of plant that has been used as herbal medicine for thousands of years in China.
Artemisia annua contains various natural compounds, such as flavonoids and artemisinin. Thanks to these ingredients, this herbal plant has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and anti-pain properties that are good for body health.
Various Benefits of Artemisia Annua for Health
The following are some of the health benefits of Artemisia annua:
The efficacy of Artemisia annua in treating malaria is thought to be due to the content of artemisinin compounds in the leaves. This compound is thought to be able to fight the parasite that causes malaria.
Even so, the use of this plant to treat malaria needs to be investigated further to find out the right dose and safety of its use for certain groups, such as pregnant women and the elderly.
Overcoming digestive problems
Pinworms, roundworms, and tapeworms are parasites that can infect the intestines and cause digestive problems. The antiparasitic content in Artemisia annua is thought to be able to treat these parasitic infections.
Unfortunately, most of the research on the use of this plant to treat intestinal infections has only been done on animals. Further research still needs to be done to ensure the safety and effectiveness of Artemisia annua in humans.
The content of artemisinin in Artemisia annua is also thought to be able to reduce inflammation in the body. This is because these compounds can inhibit the release of cytokines, which are proteins that trigger inflammation.
According to a study, Artemisia annua can relieve symptoms of Crohn's disease that arises due to inflammation in the digestive tract. Some of the symptoms in question include diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Reduce the risk of cancer
Various studies show that Artemisia annua leaf extract has anticancer properties that can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, such as ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer.
In addition to the four benefits above, Artemisia annua can also reduce swelling, muscle pain, and joint pain. You can get these benefits by applying a mixture of carrier oil and essential oils containing Artemisia annua to swollen or painful body parts.
Despite the many benefits, the role of Artemisia annua in curing certain diseases still requires further research to determine its effectiveness and safety.
In addition, fresh Artemisia annua should not be consumed directly, because the leaves contain thujone which can be toxic and even have the potential to cause severe side effects, such as kidney failure, hallucinations, and seizures.
Because this leaf contains chemicals that can trigger side effects, people with certain medical conditions should not take Artemisia annua, such as:
- Pregnant women, because it can cause miscarriage
- Epilepsy, because it contains compounds that can cause seizures
- Heart disease, because it can cause bleeding
- Kidney disease, because it can cause kidney failure
Even so, Artemisia annua leaves that have been extracted or dried are generally safe to use within 2-4 weeks. In the market, this leaf has been processed into essential oils, teas, and even herbal medicines.
However, it is better to consult a doctor first before consuming tea or herbal medicine containing Artemisia annua leaves. This is important, especially if you have certain medical conditions or are taking medical medications.