Botanical Name : Artemessia annua
Family : Asteraceae
Artemisia annua belongs to the plant family of Asteraceae and is an annual short-day plant. Its stem is erect brownish or violet brown. The plant itself is hairless and naturally grows from 30 to 100 cm tall, although in cultivation it is possible for plants to reach a height of 200 cm. The leaves of A. annua have a length of 3–5 cm and are divided by deep cuts into two or three small leaflets. The intensive aromatic scent of the leaves is characteristic. The artemisinin content in dried leaves is in between 0% and 1.5% New hybrids of Artemisia annua developed in Switzerland can reach a leaf artemisinin content of up to 2%. The small flowers have a diameter of 2–2.5 mm and are arranged in loose panicles. Their color is green-yellowish. The seeds are brown achenes with a diameter of only 0.6–0.8 mm.
The growing period of Artemisia annua from seeding through to harvest is 190–240 days, depending on the climate and altitude of the production area. The plant is harvested at the beginning of flowering when the artemisinin content is the highest
Chemical constituents :
In 1971, scientists demonstrated the plant extracts had antimalarial activity in primate models, and in 1972, the active ingredient, artemisinin (formerly referred to as arteannuin), was isolated and its chemical structure described.
Artemisinin may be extracted using a low boiling point solvent, such as diethylether, and is found in the glandular trichomes of the leaves, stems, and inflorescences, and is concentrated in the upper portions of plant within new growth.
The first isolation of artemisinin from the herb occurred from a military project known as Project 523, following the study of traditional medicine pharmacopoeias performed by Tu Youyou and other researchers within the project.