Artemisia Annua: An Useful Bush

Artemisia annua

Artemisia (Artemisia annua L.) is a bush type plant, and is one of the most distributed genus of asteraceae genus. Members of this genus have a distinctive aroma or unique taste and have benefits in the medical field. Artemisia is a seasonal plant that has good growth, erect, and bright green leaves with a compound interest structure. Artemisia is a traditional medicinal herb originating in China and widely cultivated in Asia, America, and Europe.

Artemisia has been used since ancient times by the Chinese population to treat fever due to malaria. The active ingredient in this plant is called qinghaosu in Chinese or artemisinin. Artemisinin is clinically proven to inhibit the development of Plasmodium sp. the cause of malaria. Artemisinin can be used as an active ingredient for a mixture of anti-malarial drugs and has been sold commercially.

Artemisinin is a secondary metabolite compound that enters into isoprenoid or trepenoid classification. Isoprenoid compounds are produced by plants to protect themselves from damage caused by abiotic factors. The isoprenoid content in plants will always increase in abiotic conditions that are less supportive. Abiotic factors include the intensity of light, environmental temperature, the availability of nutrients and water in the soil. Artemisinin belongs to the isoprenoid classification and it can be said that artemisinin has almost the same role.

The cultivation of Artemisia annua L. does not require full irrigation. Regular irrigation processes can affect plant height. If the irrigation frequency is increased, the Artemisia annua L. canopy will increase. Increasing the frequency of irrigation can also reduce the total dry biomass so that the level of artemisinin obtained is also small. Well-scheduled irrigation and appropriate spacing use can increase the amount of biomass. In the cultivation area of ​​Artemisia annua L. using wide spacing and unscheduled irrigation, the total biomass produced is very small.

Artemisia can grow optimally on clay soil with pH ranges between 6-8 and have good drainage. Artemisia planted on soil with a pH lower than 5 can still grow well. It has been reported that there are several clones of Artemisia that are tolerant of acidic and alkaline soils. Artemisia grown on appropriate media will grow optimum and produce large quantities of biomass. This does not affect the content of artemisinin, but if the resulting biomass is greater, then the number of artemisinin will also be more.

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