The activity of Artemisia spp. and their constituents against Trypanosomiasis

Phytomedicine. 2018 Aug 1;47:184-191. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2018.06.002. Epub 2018 Jun 9.

Abstract

Background: Trypanosomiasis belongs to the neglected tropical diseases. Although standard therapies are available, the safety and efficacy of current synthetic drugs are limited due to the development of drug resistance and adverse side effects.

Purpose: Artemisia annua and artemisinin are not only active against Plasmodia, but also other protozoa. Therefore, we reviewed the literature on species of the genus Artemisia and their phytochemicals regarding their activity against trypanosomes.

Study design: A PubMed search for "Artemisia/Artemisinin and Trypanosoma" has been conducted for literature until December 2017.

Results: Interestingly, not only A. annua L. and its active principle, artemisinin revealed inhibitory activity towards trypanosomes. Other Artemisia species (A. absinthium, A. abyssinica, A. afra, A. douglasia, A. elegantissima, A. maciverae, A. mexicana, and A. roxburghiana) also inhibited T. brucei, T. cruzi, or T. congolense. The plants contained numerous chemical constituents including 3',4'-dihydroxybonanzin, apigenin, betulinic acid, bonanzin, dehydroleucodine, dihydroluteolin, dracunculin and bis-dracunculin, helenalin, nepetin, scoparol, scopoletin, stigmasterol, (Z)-p‑hydroxy cinnamic acid, β-sitosterol and others. In addition to artemisinin from A. annua, artemether and artesunate, further novel artemisinin derivatives and nanotechnological preparations may also be useful to combat Trypanosoma infections.

Conclusion: There are numerous results reporting on the anti-trypanosomal activity the genus Artemisia, artemisinin and its derivatives and other phytochemicals from Artemisia species. This field of research is, however, still in its infancy and more intensive research is required to explore the full potential of diverse Artemisia species and their chemical ingredients for eradication of trypanosomal infections.

Keywords: Alkaloids; Artemisinin; Asteraceae; Chemotherapy; Coumarins; Essential oils; Flavonoids; Neglected diseases; Phytotherapy; Terpenoids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Artemether
  • Artemisia / chemistry*
  • Artemisinins
  • Artesunate
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Scopoletin
  • Trypanosomiasis / drug therapy*

Substances

  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Artesunate
  • absinthium
  • artemisinin
  • Artemether
  • Scopoletin