Artemisia annua as a self-reliant treatment for malaria in developing countries

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Dec 8;120(3):302-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.09.017. Epub 2008 Sep 27.


Malaria is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by the protozoan Plasmodium parasites. Each year, it causes disease in approximately 515 million people and kills between one and three million people, the majority of whom are young children in sub-Saharan Africa. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Due to climate change and the gradual warming of the temperate regions the future distribution of the malaria disease might include regions which are today seen as safe. Currently, malaria control requires an integrated approach comprising of mainly prevention, including vector control and the use of effective prophylactic medicines, and treatment of infected patients with antimalarials. The antimalarial chloroquine, which was in the past a mainstay of malaria control, is now ineffective in most malaria areas and resistance to other antimalarials is also increasing rapidly. The discovery and development of artemisinins from Artemisia annua have provided a new class of highly effective antimalarials. ACTs are now generally considered as the best current treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. This review gives a short history of the malaria disease, the people forming a high risk group and the botanical aspects of A. annua. Furthermore the review provides an insight in the use of ART and its derivatives for the treatment of malaria. Its mechanism of action and kinetics will be described as well as the possibilities for a self-reliant treatment will be revealed. This self-reliant treatment includes the local production practices of A. annua followed by the possibilities for using traditional prepared teas from A. annua as an effective treatment for malaria. Finally, HMM will be described and the advantages and disadvantages discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimalarials* / chemistry
  • Antimalarials* / pharmacology
  • Antimalarials* / therapeutic use
  • Artemisia annua* / chemistry
  • Developing Countries
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • Malaria / drug therapy*
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plasmodium / drug effects
  • Tea


  • Antimalarials
  • Tea