EARLY RESEARCH FINDS EXTRACTS FROM SWEET WORMWOOD PLANT CAN INHIBIT THE COVID-19
Early Research Finds Extracts from Sweet Wormwood Plant Can Inhibit the COVID-19 Virus
Laboratory Findings Suggest Artemisia Annua May Point to Treatment for SARS-CoV-2
May 4, 2021
A team of researchers that includes Worcester Polytechnic Institute Biology Professor Pamela Weathers has found that extracts from the leaves of the Artemisia annua plant, a medicinal herb also known as sweet wormwood, inhibit the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and two of its recent variants.
The team, which included researchers from Columbia University in New York and the University of Washington at Seattle, also found that extracts of the plant were more effective against the virus when levels of a key therapeutic compound in the plant, artemisinin, were low. The in vitro findings led the researchers to suggest that one or more compounds in Artemisia annua, or A. annua, that have not yet been identified may point to a safe, low-cost therapeutic treatment for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The work was described in an article published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
“Artemisia annua has been studied extensively, and it has been used safely for more than 2,000 years in traditional medicine to treat a variety of fever-related ailments,” Weathers said. “A. annua could provide clues to new safe, cost-effective small molecule therapies or even be used as an antiviral nutraceutical.”
The researchers soaked dried leaves of A. annua, obtained from four continents in hot water and tested the solutions against SARS-CoV-2 and two variants originating from the United Kingdom and South Africa. Some leaf samples were 12 years old but still potent against the virus. Researchers also tested artemisinin alone against the viruses, but the plant extracts were more potent. Artemisinin is a compound naturally produced by the plant, but is usually extracted, chemically modified, and developed in combination with other drugs to treat malaria.
Results showed that the extracts of A. annua did not block the virus from entering cells but interfered with the virus’ ability to replicate, thus killing it. In addition, the anti-replication activity did not appear linked to artemisinin or flavonoids, which are natural substances in the plants.
Weathers has long studied different strains of Artemisia, which are grown around the world. She recently was a co-author on papers exploring the anti-malaria properties of artemisinin and the impact of A. annua and artemisinin extracts on the malaria parasite. She also is collaborating on a study at WPI to identify compounds in A. annua that may be effective against the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis.
Weathers said more work is needed to identify the compound or combination of compounds in A. annua responsible for inhibiting viral replication.
“These findings add to evidence emerging from other labs around the world that this plant possesses compounds that could help patients who are infected with COVID-19,” Weathers said. “We also know that the plant possesses compounds that inhibit inflammation and the formation of scar-like tissues known as fibrosis, which also affect patients with COVID-19. Together, these characteristics point to a plant that bears a lot more study.”
This was the same plant used in a drink/tea given out to the population in Madagascar. Guess which country was one of the last in Africa to get the experimental injections? Madagascar. They managed to keep their cases down for almost an entire year before coincidently the country recently got a surge in covid cases before they decided to accept the experimental injections.
Madagascar yesterday received its first batch of coronavirus vaccines through the Covax global sharing scheme, one of the last countries in Africa to obtain the prised jabs following months of resistance by the president.
While countries across the globe scrambled to secure doses of the precious shots, Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina showed little interest in inoculation and instead continued to promote a locally brewed herbal drink as the only required coronavirus “cure”. But an unprecedented infection resurge last month forced Rajoelina to bow to growing criticism of his handling of the pandemic and agree to a vaccine rollout.
A first shipment of 250,000 Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs landed on the Indian Ocean island nation yesterday.
The plane was met by a delegation of government officials and United Nations representatives — although Rajoelina himself did not attend the ceremony.
More than a third of Madagascar’s coronavirus cases have been recorded in the past month alone.
To date the country of 27mn inhabitants has registered 38,874 infections, including at least 716 deaths
Fascinating. I’d think it would be effective against all coronavirus illnesses.
At this point the only thing that has not been demonstrated to kill the virus is the vaccine.
In all seriousness, the name “artemisia” rang a bell with me and I was trying to remember when I had heard it before. Then I recalled its connection to lymes disease. Years ago I got lymes and had read up a bit on natural cures to augment the abx treatment.
Apparently artemisia is used to treat malaria as well. Now malaria and lymes are related more to parasites than bacteria. Another treatment which has shown effective in combating covid has been ivermectin…another anti- parasitic…hmm.
I have no scientific background, just a lay-person, but I see a trend here.
It does look like they want this trial to succeed – they’re testing it on high risk patients who test positive – but aren’t yet in a severe state. Caveat: it uses tea rather than the 30:1 extract that I … happen to have on hand.
Trial should be finished now – but no results yet. Completion date: April 30, 2021. n=360.
This trial is being done in a third world country – of course.
This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-arm, multicenter, phase II trial design to allow a rapid efficacy and toxicity assessment of potential therapies (camostat mesilate and artemisia annua) immediately after COVID-19 positive testing in mild to moderate disease and high-risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity among others.
Subjects must have at least one of the following high-risk features for clinical deterioration:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Moderate to severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or asthma
- Cancer patients who have received any immunosuppressive drugs within a year from enrollment.
- Obesity as defined by a body mass index > 30 kg/m2.
- Living in a nursing home or long-term facility
- Underlying serious heart condition as determined by the treating physician
- Immunocompromised subject as defined by the treating physician or by the Infectious Disease specialist