Context: Medicinal plants are nature's gift to human beings to make disease free healthy life, and play a vital role to preserve our health. They are believed to be much safer and proven elixir in the treatment of various ailments. The genus Artemisia (Astraceae) consists of about 500 species, occurring throughout the world. The present review comprises the ethnopharmacological, phytochemical and therapeutic potential of various species of Artemisia.
Objective: The aim of this this review is to bring together most of the available scientific research conducted on the genus Artemisia, which is currently scattered across various publications. Through this review the authors hope to attract the attention of natural product researchers throughout the world to focus on the unexplored potential of Artemisia species.
Methods: This review has been compiled using references from major databases such as Chemical Abstracts, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Abstracts, ScienceDirect, SciFinder, PubMed, King's American Dispensatory, Henriette's Herbal Homepage, Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases.
Results: An exhaustive survey of literature revealed that the different species of Artemisia have a vast range of biological activities including antimalarial, cytotoxic, antihepatotoxic, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant activity. Some very important drug leads have been discovered from this genus, notably artemisinin, the well known antimalarial drug isolated from the Chinese herb Artemisia annua. Terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, caffeoylquinic acids, sterols and acetylenes constitute major classes of phytoconstituents of the genus.
Conclusion: Various species of Artemisia seems to hold great potential for in-depth investigation for various biological activities, especially their effects on the central nervous and cardiovascular systems.