Composition et modes d’action

Artemisia afra Jacq.

Cet article regroupe les publications scientifiques ayant pour objet la composition phytochimique d’Artemisia afra et les mécanismes d’action de ses composés. Les publications sont citées dans leur ordre chronologique de publication

Composition et modes d’action

Artemisia afra Jacq.


E. H. Graven, L. Webber, M. Venter & J. B., Gardner
The Development of Artemisia afra (Jacq.) as a New Essential Oil Crop
Journal of Essential Oil Research, September-October 1990, 2, 215-220

The Development of Artemisia afra (Jacq.) as a New Essential Oil Crop


It has been shown that statistically significant higher oil yields could be
obtained from Artemisia afra when the plants were harvested during anthesis and
early seed set. The chemical composition of four generations of the same clone was
found to be very constant. On examination of the oil composition of wild populations
of A. afra, the existence of chemotypes was revealed. Oils rich in 1,8-cineole
(50.14%), a-thujone (74.91-75.28%), P-thujone (21.49-22.44%), and camphor
(27.92%) were found.

Key words : Artemisia afra, Compositae, South African wormwood,
Infra-specific Chemical Difference, Essential Oil.


Alvaro M. Viljoen, Sandy F. van Vuuren and Tebogo Gwebu
The Geographical Variation and Antimicrobial Activity of African Wormwood (Artemisia afra Jacq.) Essential Oil
Journal of Essential Oil Research, 18, 19-25 (Special Edition 2006)

The Geographical Variation and Antimicrobial Activity of African Wormwood ({Artemisia afra} Jacq.) Essential Oil


The aerial parts of 16 individual Artemisia afra plants from four natural populations were hydrodistilled and the essential oil analyzed by GC/MS. The oil composition varied quantitatively and qualitatively within and between natural populations and showed no correlation to the geographical distribution. The antimicrobial activity was demonstrated by means of time-kill methodology using the respiratory pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and K. pneumoniae. Antimicrobial activity was most prominent within 10 min at concentration 0.75% for K. pneumoniae and within 60 min at concentration 1% for Cryptococcus neoformans. Investigation of the four major compounds most abundant in the Artemisia afra oil (Artemisia ketone, 1,8-cineole, α- and β-thujone) indicated minimal antimicrobial activity when investigated independently and in various combinations against K. pneumoniae.

Key Word Index : Artemisia afra, Asteraceae, essential oil composition, 1,8-cineole, artemisia ketone, α-thujone, β-thujone, artemisia alcohol, camphor, antimicrobial activity, death kinetics.


F. Van der Kooy a,⁎, R. Verpoorte a, J.J. Marion Meyer
Metabolomic quality control of claimed anti-malarial Artemisia afra herbal remedy and A. afra and A. annua plant extracts
South African Journal of Botany 74 (2008) 186–189

Metabolomic quality control of claimed anti-malarial Artemisia afra herbal remedy and A. afra and A. annua plant extracts

Abstract :

Malaria remains a serious health problem world wide, especially in developing countries. Recent advances in the treatment of malaria have taken place and today combination therapies containing artemisinin (isolated in 1971 from Artemisia annua) and its derivatives have become the main weapon in the fight against this disease. Many herbal companies are now trying to make use of the success of artemisinin by selling Artemisia plant material in various formulations. We have therefore decided to test the product of one such company which claims that its capsules contain artemisinin. We have used a rapid NMR targeted metabolomics approach combined with principle component analysis (PCA) to verify that the capsules are indeed Artemisia afra and not A. annua. In addition the concentration of artemisinin in the plant material was determined with a sensitive LC–MS method. This analysis indicated that even if the company has used A. annua in their capsules the dosage of artemisinin will be far to low to be effective. Our analysis shows that NMR with PCA can be a rapid and valuable tool in the quality control of herbal supplements.

Keywords : Artemisia afra ; Artemisia annua ; Artemisinin ; Metabolomics ; NMR


Adebola O. Oyedejia,*, Anthony J. Afolayanb and Anne Hutchings
Compositional Variation of the Essential Oils of Artemisia afra Jacq. from three Provinces in South Africa - A Case Study of its Safety
Natural Product Communication, 2009, Vol. 4, No. 6, 849-852

Compositional Variation of the Essential Oils of Artemisia afra Jacq. from three Provinces in South Africa - A Case Study of its Safety


Safety of Artemisia afar has been a controversial issue due to its high thujone content. Despite the declaration of the World Health Organization in the 1970s of the plant being unsafe for consumption, it is still commonly used in folklore medication in South Africa, especially in winter. Essential oils were isolated by hydrodistillation from the twigs of A. afra plants from different locations in the Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. Analyses of the oils by GC and GCMS revealed compositional variations in the levels of α-and β-thujone, 1,8-cineole and camphor. α-Thujone was the major component of the essential oils of A. afra from Philippolis (Free State) and Keiskammahoek (Eastern Cape) (62-74%), while the camphor content was very low (≤ 0.1-0.6%). The samples from Gqumahshe, Hogsback (Eastern Cape) and Empangeni (KwaZulu Natal) had low α-thujone contents (3.7-20.0%) while 1,8-cineole (13.0-49.5%) and camphor (13.9-21.2%) were the main components of the essential oils. It was further observed that the concentration of α-thujone increased significantly in the dry leaves when compared with the fresh leaves. This implies that fresh leaves are better used for infusion than dry leaves. This study reveals that not all A. afra contain high concentrations of α- and β- thujone.

Keywords : Artemisia afra, essential oil, α- and β- thujone, 1,8-cineole, camphor.


Ning Qing Liu ; Martine Cao ; Michel Frédérich ; Young Hae Choi ; Robert Verpoorte ; Frank van der Kooy
Metabolomic investigation of the ethnopharmacological use of Artemisia afra with NMR spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, volume 128, issue 1 (2010)

Metabolomic investigation of the ethnopharmacological use of Artemisia afra with NMR spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis

Abstract :

Ethnopharmacological relevance : Artemisia afra has been used as an infusion to treat malaria throughout the southern parts of Africa, in much the same way as the antimalarial plant Artemisia annua in China. The antiplasmodial activity of purified components from an apolar fraction of Artemisia afra has been shown in the past. No data on the efficacy of the tea infusion prepared from Artemisia afra are however available.

Objective : To investigate the antiplasmodial activity of various extracts of Artemisia afra including an ethnopharmacological prepared sample. To identify polar metabolites in Artemisia afra and Artemisia annua and by using multivariate data analysis investigate the metabolic differences between these species.

Materials and Methods : The antiplasmodial activity of Artemisia afra and Artemisia annua extracts were tested for activity against Plasmodiam falciparum 3D7 (chloroquine-sensitive strain) with chloroquine, quinine and artemisinin as positive controls. Hydrophilic metabolites in Artemisia afra and Artemisia annua were identified directly from the crude extracts through 1D- and 2D-NMR spectra. The NMR spectra were also used to differentiate between the two species using principal component analysis (PCA) for quality control purposes.

Results : The apolar fractions of both Artemisia afra and Artemisia annua showed activity against P. falciparum while activity was only found in the tea infusion of Artemisia annua. Metabolomic studies using 1D- and 2D-NMR spectroscopy identified 24 semi-polar components in Artemisia afra including three new phenylpropanoids for this species : caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and 3,5-dicaffeoyl quinic acid. PCA analysis conducted on the samples yielded good separation between the polar extracts of Artemisia afra and Artemisia annua.
Conclusion : These findings shows that there are no in vitro activity in the tea infusion of Artemisia afra and lists the identified metabolites causing the metabolic differences between Artemisia afra and Artemisia annua for quality control purposes.


Yusra Kriel
The immune-modulating activity of Artemisia afra Jack
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirement for the degree, Magister Scientiae (M.Sc) at the University of The Western Cape, South Africa Supervised by Professor Edmund J. Pool May 2010

The immune-modulating activity of Artemisia afra

Abstract : The human immune system consists of innate and adaptive mechanisms of defence that protect the host from harmful substances. Cytokines and other immune components play an important role in the induction and regulation of these defence mechanisms. Despite these mechanisms, sometimes pathogens still manage to evade the immune system causing disease ; or allergens result in hypersensitive reactions ; or the immune system becomes overly sensitive and starts attacking the “self”. Irrespective of the cause, despite its best efforts, the immune system sometimes needs help regulating its defences.

Artemisia afra is an indigenous member of the daisy or Asteraceae family. It is one of the oldest and most common plants used as a traditional medicine in South Africa. Because of the great diversity of ailments traditionally treated with Artemisia afra, it is considered a “cure-all”. The aerial parts contain various phenolic compounds that have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity. This helps to explain its popularity in treating bacterial infections such as sore throats, ear infections and various bronchial diseases. Other traditional uses include viral infections such as measles and influenza, and parasitic infections such as malaria and intestinal parasites. Non-pathogenic conditions traditionally treated with Artemisia afra include diabetes mellitus, gout and neuraligia, autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and allergic conditions such as asthma. Due to this wide range of traditional indications, Artemisia afra is thought to have immune regulating effects.

Herbal medications are becoming increasingly popular with the general public. Knowledge regarding indigenous medicines is very limited, while the need for such knowledge is becoming more essential. It is estimated that in Africa approximately 80 % of people rely on herbal medicine for primary health care. Most literature sources focus on the study of European herbs and medical practitioners are not well equipped to guide the public on issues relating to herbal medicines. Adverse and side effects of herbs become common when the herb is taken incorrectly or together with certain medications. Despite the wide variety of conditions traditionally treated with Artemisia afra, limited literature exists regarding the bioactivities on the species, and no immune studies have been done until now. The aim of this study was to use human whole blood cultures to examine Artemisia afra’s immunomodulating effects in vitro.

A 20 % (w/v) Artemisia afra extract was prepared using 94.4 % ethanol and milled aerial herb organs. The extract was air dried and re-suspended in DMSO to obtain a 50 % (wet leaf w/v) extract. Blood was collected from healthy male volunteers and diluted with RPMI-1640. To measure inflammatory activity and cytotoxicity, stimulated blood contained 1 volume of 10 μg/ml LPS in DMSO, 10 volumes of blood and 89 volumes of RMPI-1640. Blood (200 μl/well) was added to various concentrations of Artemisia afra. This was incubated at 37 ºC for 24 hours. For cell-mediated and humoral immunity, stimulated blood contained 10 volumes of blood and 89 volumes of RPMI-1640 medium and 1 volume of 1.6 mg/ml PHA in RPMI-1640 and incubated for 48 hours. An LDH assay was used to analyse the herb for cytotoxicity and various ELISAs for cytokine analysis. IL-6 was used as a biomarker for inflammatory activity, IL-10 for humoral immunity and IFN-γ for cell mediated immunity. Results were statistically analysed using ANOVA tests.

Results showed that Artemisia afra was significantly cytotoxic (P<0.050)> / ?page=nous-contacter]

Abstract :

Aim of the study : Luteolin is a major flavonoid constituent and a primary candidate that might contribute to the claimed in vivo protective effects of Artemisia afra (Jacq. Ex. Willd). However, an exhaustive search yielded no literature evidence on the absorption, metabolism and fate of this flavonoid from the traditional plant preparation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the plant matrix on the uptake of luteolin derivatives from Artemisia afra aqueous extract in human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells.

Materials and Methods : Cell monolayers were incubated with 5, 10 and 20 g/ml doses of luteolin aglycone, luteolin-7-0-glucoside, un-hydrolyzed or acid-hydrolyzed Artemisia afra extracts, and samples of 150 l each were collected from both apical and basolateral sides of cells at 30, 60 and 120 min for HPLC and LC–MS analyses.
Results : After 1-h exposure, the uptake of luteolin aglycone and luteolin-7-0-glucoside from the unhydrolyzed and acid-hydrolyzed extracts was significantly faster and quantitatively higher (i.e. >77% vs. <25% of the initial doses over the first 30 min, p < 0.05) than that from non-plant solutions. Apical to basolateral permeability coefficients for luteolin and its-7-0-glucoside in the extracts were 1.6- to 2-fold higher than that for the non-plant solutions. Glucuronidation was an important pathway of metabolism for luteolin in both non-plant and plant extract forms.

Conclusions : Luteolin in Artemisia afra aqueous extract, regardless of its form (i.e. whether aglycone and 7-0-glucoside), is taken up better and more efficiently metabolized than the aglycone and 7-0-glucoside forms administered as pure solutions in Caco-2 cells. Flavonoid actives from Artemisia afra plant extracts and especially traditionally prepared dosage formsmay thus have better bioavailability, and consequently greater in vivo potency, than that predicted from studies done using the pure solutions.


Gayathri V. Patil, Sujata K. Dass and Ramesh Chandra
.Artemisia afra and Modern Diseases
Journal of Pharmacogenomics & Pharmacoproteomics, 2011, 2:3

Artemisia afra and Modern Diseases

Abstract :

Herb Artemisia afra has recently attracted worldwide attention of researchers for its possible use in the modern diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases etc. This review is exhaustive and systematic organization of the available literature on Artemisia afra from January 1922 to July 2011. The literature survey presents the number of publications with respect to time. Patents are briefly described ; the traditional uses are classified and summarized. Some emphasis is given to the data and projections of modern diseases and the ongoing research in this area in the context of title of this review. The pharmacognostic aspects, chemical constituents and factors affecting it, the activity, analysis & quality control, pharmaceutical dosage form etc. is dealt in this review.

Keywords : Artemisia afra ; Patents ; Traditional uses ; Chemical constituents ; Activity ; Toxicity ; Dosage form


Taofik O. Sunmonu and Anthony J. Afolayan
Evaluation of Polyphenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity of Artemisia afra Jacq. Ex Willd. Aqueous Extract
Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 11 (7) : 520-525, 2012

Evaluation of Polyphenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity of Artemisia afra Jacq. Ex Willd. Aqueous Extract

Abstract :

Artemisia afra Jacq. ex Willd. is widely used in South African traditional medicine for the treatment of many ailments and diseases. In this work, aqueous extract of the plant was screened for its phenolic profile and antioxidant activity. The results obtained revealed that the extract has considerable amount of polyphenolic compounds including phenol, flavonoid, flavonol and proanthocyanidin. The extract also exhibited significant inhibition of DPPH and ABTS radicals as well as ferric reductive ability in a concentrationdependent manner. These are indications of antioxidant activity of Artemisia afra which could be attributed to the presence of phenolic compounds ; and the data compared well with those of known standards like BHT, rutin and vitamin C. This study has, to some extent, justified the folkloric use of the herb in traditional medicinal practice of South Africa.

Key words : Artemisia afra, antioxidant, total phenolics, DPPH, ABTS, free radicals


Garland More, Namrita Lall, Ahmed Hussein, and Thilivhali Emmanuel Tshikalange
Antimicrobial Constituents of Artemisia afra Jacq. Ex Willd. against Periodontal Pathogens
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012, Article ID 252758

Antimicrobial Constituents of Artemisia afra Jacq. Ex Willd. against Periodontal Pathogens Evidence-Based

Abstract :

The phytochemical investigation of an ethanol extract of Artemisia afra led to the isolation of six known compounds, acacetin (1), 12α,4α-dihydroxybishopsolicepolide (2), scopoletin (3), α-amyrin (4), phytol (5), and a pentacyclic triterpenoid betulinic acid (6). The compounds were evaluated for antimicrobial activity against Gram positive (Actinomyces naeslundii, Actinomyces israelii, and Streptococcus mutans), Gram negative bacteria (Prevotella intermedia, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans previously known as Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans), and Candida albicans. The crude extract of A.afra inhibited the growth of all tested microbial species at concentration range of 1.6mg/mL to 25 mg/mL. The compounds 1–6 also showed activity range at 1.0 mg/mL to 0.25mg/mL. Three best compounds (scopoletin, betulinic acid, and acacetin) which showed good antimicrobial activity were selected for further studies. Cytotoxicity of extract and compounds was determined using the XTT cell proliferation kit. The antioxidant activity of the extract and compounds was done using the DPPH scavenging method. The extract showed good antioxidant activity with an IC50 value of 22.2 μg/mL. Scopoletin had a strong transformation of the DPPH radical into its reduced form, with an IC50 value of 1.24 μg/mL which was significant to that of vitamin C (1.22 μg/mL). Acacetin and betulinic acid exhibited a decreased scavenging activity with the IC50 of 2.39 and 2.42 μg/mL, respectively. The extract and compounds showed moderate toxicity on McCoy fibroblast cell line and scopoletin was relatively nontoxic with an IC50 value of 132.5 μg/mL. Acacetin and betulinic acid also showed a smooth trend of non-toxic effects with IC50 values of 35.44 and 30.96 μg/mL. The obtained results in this study confirm the use of Artemisia afra in the treatment of microbial infections.


Pierre Lutgen
.Artemisia afra and luteolin, June 26, 2015
Artemisia afra and luteolin

Non abstract

Online publication


Paula Marie Braünlich, Kari Tvete Inngjerdingen, Marit Inngjerdingen,
Quinton Johnson, Berit Smestad Paulsen, Wilfred Mabusela
Polysaccharides from the South African medicinal plant Artemisia afra : Structure and activity studies
Fitoterapia 124, November 2017, DOI : 10.1016/j.fitote.2017.11.016

Polysaccharides from the South African medicinal plant Artemisia afra : Structure and activity studies


Artemisia afra (Jacq. Ex. Willd), is an indigenous plant in South Africa and other parts of the African continent, where it is used as traditional medicine mostly for respiratory conditions. The objective of this study was to investigate the structural features of the polysaccharides from the leaves of this plant, as well as the biological activities of the polysaccharide fractions against the complement assay. Leaves of Artemisia afra were extracted sequentially with organic solvents (dichloromethane and methanol), 50% aqueous ethanol, and water at 50 and 100°C respectively. The polysaccharide extracts were fractionated by ion exchange chromatography and the resulting fractions were tested for biological activity against the complement fixation assay. Active fractions were further fractionated using gel filtration. Monosaccharide compositions and linkage analyses were determined for the relevant fractions. Polysaccharides were shown to be of the pectin type, and largely contain arabinogalactan, rhamnogalacturonan and homogalacturonan structural features. The presence of arabinogalactan type II features as suggested by methylation analysis was further confirmed by the ready precipitation of the relevant polysaccharides with the Yariv reagent. An unusual feature of some of these polysaccharides was the presence of relatively high levels of xylose as one of its monosaccharide constituents. Purified polysaccharide fractions were shown to possess higher biological activity than the selected standard in the complement assay. Digestion of these polysaccharides with an endo-polygalacturonase enzyme resulted in polymers with lower molecular weights as expected, but still with biological activity which exceeded that of the standard. Thus on the basis of these studies it may be suggested that immunomodulating properties probably contribute significantly to the health-promoting effects of this medicinal plant


Oluwagbenga O Adeogun, Alfred Maroyi*, Anthony Jide Afolayan
Variation in the chemical composition of essential oils from Artemisia afra (Jacq) ex-Wild leaf obtained by different methods and the effect of oil extracts on Artemia salina.
Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research March 2018 ; 17 (3) : 519-528

Variation in the chemical composition of essential oils from Artemisia afra (Jacq) ex-Wild leaf obtained by different methods and the effect of oil extracts on Artemia salina

Abstract :

Purpose : To determine the essential oils extracted from fresh and dried leaves of Artemisia afra using hydrodistillation (HD) and solvent free microwave extraction (SFME) methods and investigate the effects of the oils on Artemia salina.

Methods : The essential oils were obtained from fresh and dried leaves of Artemisia afra using hydrodistillation and solvent-free microwave extraction methods. The compounds present in the oils were analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The oils were assayed for hatchability and lethality activities on Artemia salina for 72 h. The lethal concentration (LC50) required to kill 50 % of the population of brine shrimp by each test oil was determined using a Probit regression analysis.

Results : The most abundant compound was thujone (32.02 and 30.02 % in fresh leaf by HD and SFME methods, respectively) and in dried leaf (26.57 and 25.82 %, by HD and SFME methods, respectively). Mean watchability success rate of all the oils was 70 % while lethality activity was 30 % after 72 h at the lowest concentration of the test oils. Half-maximal lethal concentration (LC50) on Artemia salina was 206.97 and 406.48 μg/mL of the oil from fresh leaf obtained by HD and SFME, respectively, while for the dried leaf, it was 277.18 and 669.30 μg/mL for the oil produced by HD and SFME, respectively.

Conclusion : The phytoconstituents in each oil varied based on the method of extraction and the state of the leaf before and after extraction. Furthermore, the toxic activity of the oils against Artemia salina suggests that they may possess anticancer properties but this needs to be further investigated.

Keywords : Artemia salina, Artemisia afra, Essential oils, hydrodistillation, Solvent-free microwave extraction, Hatchability, Lethality


Matthew R. Desrosiers, Melissa J. Towler, and Pamela J. Weathers
Artemisia annua and Artemisia afra Essential Oils and Their Therapeutic Potential
Chapter in : Malik S. (eds) : Essential Oil Research (Trends in Biosynthesis, Analytics, Industrial Applications and Biotechnological Production). Springer, Cham, 2019, pp. 197-209

Artemisia annua and Artemisia afra Essential Oils and Their Therapeutic Potential

No abstract


« For millennia, Artemisia annua L. was used by the Chinese to treat fever, which was often thought to be malaria (Hsu 2006 ; Tu 2011). The sesquiterpene lactone, artemisinin, is considered the main antimalarial phytochemical in A. annua. However, many constituents of the plant’s essential oils (EOs) including 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), limonene, myrcene, α- and β-pinenes, and nerolidol also are known to be antimalarial as isolated chemicals, albeit with much less effective inhibitory concentrations (IC50 values) than artemisinin (see reviews by Weathers et al. 2014, 2017). There is evidence, however, suggesting that at least in some cases, the EO fraction per se is more potent than its individual constituents (Radulović et al. 2013). A. afra has also been used by native Africans to treat malaria (Liu et al. 2009 ; Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk 1962). While considerable information is known about the breadth of the medicinal properties of A. annua to treat not only malaria as well as other diseases, A. afra has only recently attracted more attention for its healing properties (Patil et al. 2011). Although their composition is somewhat different, constituents of the EOs of each species seem to play a role in the therapeutic efficacy of both plant species. Here, we summarize what is currently known about the EO fraction of these two important medicinal plant species and how the phytochemicals therein may affect therapeutic outcomes. »

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 The Geographical Variation and Antimicrobial Activity of African Wormwood ({Artemisia afra} Jacq.) Essential Oil
 Journal of Essential Oil Research
 Metabolomic quality control of claimed anti-malarial Artemisia afra herbal remedy and A. afra and A. annua plant extracts
 South African Journal of Botany
 The immune-modulating activity of Artemisia afra
 Yusra Kriel
 Metabolomic investigation of the ethnopharmacological use of Artemisia afra with NMR spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis
 Journal of Ethnopharmacology


Revue des études sur la composition, les mécanismes d’action, les formes galéniques, la toxicologie et l’épidémiologie d’Artemisia afra

Les articles 3

IMG: Formes galéniques Cet article regroupe les publications consacrées aux formes pharmaceutiques d’Artemisia afra Jaq.
2005James Tshikosa Mukinda Acute and chronic toxicity of the flavonoid- containing plant, Artemisia afra in rodents A thesis submitted in partial (...)
IMG: Pharmacocinétique 2004Raymond Muganga Luteolin Levels in Selected Folkloric Preparations and the Bioavailability of Luteolin from Artemisia afra Aqueous Extract in the (...)
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