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Artemisia annua (annual wormwood)

Good Agricultural and Collection Practices

In August of 2005 I was funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) to represent FAO in Nanning, Guanxi, China at the meeting to finalize the monograph on ‘The WHO Guidelines on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices for A. annua. See the EcoPort record on A. annua and the EcoPort article.

Brief description of A. annua

A. annua is a vigorous, annual, aromatic, herbaceous plant reaching 1-3 m height and 1 m in width. It is a crop for the production of anti-malarial and possibly antibacterial agents and natural pesticides. It was originally collected by the Chinese as an herbal medicine and is currently processed by pharmaceutical firms for the production of artemisinin for the WHO initiative on Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs) in the treatment of malaria. ACTs have been shown to have; rapid resolution to fever and parasitaemia; low toxicity and are well tolerated. The artemisinin compounds are effective against Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, including multi-drug-resistant strains.

Artemisia annua

A. annua pictured by me in Jingxi County, China, close to the Vietnam border; showing the aromatic leaves.

A photograph of Artemisia annua.

The author examining plants of Artemisia annua in NanNing, Guangxi, China. Travel supported by WHO in July 2005 under the WHO ‘Consultation for Good Agricultural and Collection Practices’ (GACP).

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