Artemisia annua is widely used for the treatment of malaria and other disorders. In a previous study, the artemisinin concentration in the dry leaves of A. annua grown under humid tropical conditions was determined to be 1.098% using reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography. In the current study, biochemical and haematological evaluations of ethanolic leaf extracts derived from such plants (EAA) were carried out in 20 male Wistar rats. Rats were divided into four study groups of saline-treated (control) and test groups exposed orally to graded doses of EAA for 28 days. The results showed that the liver function and haematological indices, and testosterone levels were not adversely affected. High density lipoprotein -cholesterol was reduced at 100 mg/kg of EAA, atherogenic index as well as low density lipoprotein -cholesterol was raised, and glucose concentration was reduced significantly at the 100 and 200 mg/kg of EAA (p < 0.05). In addition to serving as a possible antidiabetic agent, EAA may not predispose users to hepatotoxicity, haematotoxicity and testicular toxicity. However, due to the possible risk of atherosclerosis, we advise that the plant extract should be taken with caution in people with atherosclerotic condition.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.