German Scientists Test Artemisia Plant Against Coronavirus

The Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam has been working with researchers from Berlin’s Free University and other institutions to test the potential of Artemisia annua plant extract and artemisinin derivatives in laboratory cell studies against the novel coronavirus Sars-CoV-2.

A derivative of the Artemisia annua plant, also known as sweet wormwood, is being tested against the COVID-19 virus by the scientists. Artemisia has traditionally been used to treat fever, and its derivative artemisinin is now used as the basis of an anti-malaria combination therapy used to successfully treat millions of adults and children each year.

Prof Dr Peter H. Seeberger from the Max Planck Institute who initiated and oversaw the study together with Dr Kerry Gilmore said, “Having worked with compounds derived from Artemisia annua plants, I was familiar with the interesting activities of the plants against many different diseases, including a range of viruses. Therefore, we felt that exploring the activity of this plant against COVID-19 was worth the undertaking.”

Researchers found that the leaves of Artemisia extract showed anti-viral activity after being extracted with pure ethanol or distilled water. The anti-viral activity increased considerably when the ethanol extract was combined with coffee.

This study is yet to be peer-reviewed and there have been no clinical trials of the remedy so far.

In order to test the activity of Artemisia annua plant extracts in the COVID-19,  human clinical trials with teas and coffees containing Artemisia annua leaves provided by ArtemmiLife Inc., a US-based company, are about to begin at the University of Kentucky’s academic medical center.

Only with lab tests and clear results will it be possible to determine whether Artemisia annua can be used effectively to treat COVID-19.


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