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Pierre Lutgen's blog

Artemisia, allelopathy, tannins.

September 16, 2016 - 09:02 -- Pierre Lutgen

Allelopathy related to Artemisia plants has already been described 100 years ago (Bode, H. R. 1939. Über die Blattausscheidungen des Wermuts und ihre Wirkung auf andere Pflanzen. Planta 30:567-589). The work of H Bode was completed a few years later (GL Funke. Blumea - Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants, 1943 5, 281-293). Eighteen species of plants, most of which were chosen at random, were sown beside a hedge of Artemisia absinthium; they were severely injured and in one case even killed by the chemical excretions of the latter within a distance of ± 100 cm.

Bali, Tuberculosis, Diabetes and Artemisia

August 16, 2016 - 06:17 -- Pierre Lutgen

Most of us ignore that on Nov 3, 2015 a Convention was signed in Bali declaring the fight against the looming TB-Diabetes co-epidemic, one of the greatest global health challenges.

An estimated two billion people, or one third of all people worldwide, live with a tuberculosis (TB) infection, of whom 9.6 million people develop active TB disease annually. TB is the leading cause of death worldwide due to a single infectious pathogen, responsible for 1.5 million human deaths in 2014, and 95 percent of human TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Sun, shade or oven drying for Artemisia

August 4, 2016 - 08:41 -- Pierre Lutgen

It has traditionnally been accepted that drying of Artemisia annua should take place in the shade because drying in the sun would destroy many useful molecules. But recent papers have questionned this belief and have studied the effect of ultraviolet radiation on the accumulation or decrease of medicinal compounds in plants (WJ Zhang et al., Fitoterapia, 2009, 80, 207-18). A study in Turkey showed that UV-C radiation had remarkable promoting effects on the accumulation of secondary metabolites in the calli of a grape cultivar (E Cetin, Biological Research, 2014, 47 :37).

Plasmodium is killed by zinc chelators

July 9, 2016 - 07:43 -- Pierre Lutgen

Plasmodium is thriving on iron. One of the first mistakes of Western medicine in Africa was the iron supplementation to the Somali nomads in 1968. Blood analysis of these nomads had shown that according to European standards they were suffering from anemia (MJ Murray et al., Brit Med J. Oct 1978, 1113-1116). But iron administration was associated with a significant increase of the disease it was supposed to suppress and even to reactivation of pre-existing diseases. The conclusion of the authors was that iron deficiency eventually plays a part in suppressing certain infections

Artemisia, CYP3A4 and scopoletin.

June 28, 2016 - 16:11 -- Pierre Lutgen

In a pionneering study in 2010, the University of Louvain had studied the anti-inflammatory effect and modulation of cytochrome P450 activities by Artemisia annua tea infusions in human intestinal Caco-2 cells (Melillo de Magalhães P1, et al.,. Food Chem. 2012 Sep 15;134.:864-71). These assays were done on aqueous infusions (3.3/L) of Artemisia annua samples from 7 different origins.

Why are Artemisia plants prophylactic? The herbicidal hypothesis.

May 29, 2016 - 13:07 -- Pierre Lutgen

Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα


Our association IFBV-BELHERB has received numerous anecdotic reports on the prophylactic effects of Artemisia plants. This effect has been documented in scientific papers. Patrick Ogwang from Uganda (Ogwang PE, et al. Trop J Pharm Res. 2012;11:445–53) showed that an infusion of Artemisia annua consumed once weekly reduced the risk of Plasmodium falciparum episodes due to a yet unidentified constituent.

A case of treatment failure and malarone poisoning

May 20, 2016 - 16:00 -- Pierre Lutgen

Reported by Dr Patrice Bouygues, Paris.

A young French traveller was infected by Plasmodium falciparum during a two week stay in Tchad in 2013. He had been treated prophylactilly and therapeutically with Malarone. After his return home he continued suffering from headaches, high fever surges, rachialgies, cardiac troubles... Several medical services were consulted. Despite the absence of noticeable parasites in blood smears, doctors prescribed a more or less continuous malarone and tardyferon treatment.

Pentacyclic triterpenes in antimalarial plants, a new paradigm

May 8, 2016 - 07:48 -- Pierre Lutgen

Many plants have antiplasmodial properties but nobody really knows why some do and others do not. We have paid most of our attention to artemisinin and derivatives, to flavonoids and antioxidants, swamped and blinded by thousands of papers on these molecules, billions invested and earned in ACTs, the prohibition of clinical trials with Artemisia annua by WHO-Geneva, the Vatican of malaria, and the colonial ITG-Antwerp. And we have forgotten that there are other molecules in Artemisia which may play an equivalent or stronger role.


Pulmonary administration of Artemisia afra against tuberculosis

April 29, 2016 - 09:34 -- Pierre Lutgen

Many constituents of medicinal herbs have a low bioavailabity, especially if administered orally. They do not pass the intestinal barrier. This is particularly the case for essential oils. A study (Ryuichi Fujisaki et al., of the in vitro and in vivo antiplasmodial activity of 47 essential oils showed that several have strong in vitro antiplasmodial activities, with IC50 values < 1.0 µg/ml. But notably these oils showed no efficacy when administered orally.


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