The history of qing hao {A figure is presented} in the Chinese materia medica

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, 51 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PE, UK.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (Impact Factor: 1.84). 07/2006; 100(6):505-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2005.09.020
Source: PubMed


Artemisinin is currently used for treating drug-resistant malaria. It is found in Artemisia annua and also in A. apiacea and A. lancea. Artemisia annua and A. apiacea were known to the Chinese in antiquity and, since they were easily confused with each other, both provided plant material for the herbal drug qing hao (blue-green hao). This article shows, however, that since at least the eleventh century Chinese scholars recognized the difference between the two species, and advocated the use of A. apiacea, rather than A. annua for 'treating lingering heat in joints and bones' and 'exhaustion due to heat/fevers'. The article furthermore provides a literal translation of the method of preparing qing hao for treating intermittent fever episodes, as advocated by the eminent physician Ge Hong in the fourth century CE. His recommendation was to soak the fresh plant in cold water, wring it out and ingest the expressed juice in its raw state. Both findings may have important practical implications for current traditional usage of the plant as an antimalarial: rather than using the dried leaves of A. annua in warm infusions, it suggests that fresh juice extraction from A. apiacea may improve efficacy.

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    • "The expression of various sesquiterpene synthases may have a negative effect on the amount of artemisinin produced in the plant as a result of a competition for the substrate FDP (Matsushita et al., 1996; Olofsson et al., 2011; Wang et al., 2012). Browm (2010) reported that artemisinin biosynthesis was unique to A. annua, while recent studies have shown that artemisinin is produced in some other species of the Artemisia genus, such as: Artemisia afftangutica, Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia bushriences, Artemisia cina, Artemisia dracunculus, Artemisia dubia, Artemisia indica, Artemisia japonica/em, Artemisia moorcroftiana, Artemisia parviflora, Artemisia roxburghiana, Artemisia sieberi, and Artemisia vulgaris (Arab et al., 2006; Hsu, 2006; Zia et al., 2007; Mannan et al., 2010, 2011). Most of these species produced less than 0.2% of DW of artemisinin, which is considerably less than A. annua (0.54 % of DW by Baraldi et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, the researchers have chosen eight species of Artemisia in order to find out their artemisinin content and also the expression levels of eight genes involved in the artemisinin biosynthetic pathway at three different developmental stages, i.e., vegetative, budding and flowering stages. Artemisinin was produced in all the species, albeit in various amounts (0.45–5.3 mg/g DW). In four species (Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia diffusa, Artemisia sieberi and Artemisia spicigeria), maximum level of artemisinin production was observed at the flowering stage, while in the other three species (Artemisia annua, Artemisia campestris and Artemisia vulgaris) artemisinin production reached its maximum level at the budding stage. However, Artemisia scoparia is the only species showing highest artemisinin content at the vegetative stage that was correlated with high density of glandular trichomes in leaf tissue. The higher amount of artemisinin, produced in A. annua, was mainly a result of higher expression of the amorpha-4,11-diene synthase (ADS) and artemisinic aldehyde Δ11(13) reductase (DBR2) genes. While, for A. absinthium an increased expression of alcohol dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) gene along with decreased expression of dihydroartemisinic aldehyde reductase (RED1) gene resulted in a desirable increase in artemisinin yield. The results of the study indicate that there is a relationship between increased expression of some genes and enhancement of artemisinin content. However, in order to validate the relationship, further enzymatic analysis needs to be performed.
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    • "Artemisia annua has been used as a medicinal plant in China for a long time (Hsu 2006; Miller and Su 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Artemisinin is widely used as an antimalarial drug around the world. Artemisinic aldehyde Δ11(13) reductase (DBR2) is a key enzyme which reduces artemisinic aldehyde to dihydroartemisinic aldehyde in the biosynthesis of artemisinin. In this study, two fragments encompassing a putative promoter of DBR2, designated as DBR2pro1 and DBR2pro2, were isolated using genomic DNA walking. The transcription start site and the putative cis-elements of each version of promoter were predicted using bioinformatic analysis. In order to study the function of the cloned promoter, Artemisia annua was transformed with β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene driven by DBR2pro1 and DBR2pro2, respectively. GUS staining results demonstrated that both DBR2pro1 and DBR2pro2 were strongly expressed in glandular secretory trichomes (GSTs) of leaf primordia and flower buds, but were not obviously expressed in roots, stems, old leaves, and fully developed flowers, thus indicating that the two versions of promoter were functional and specifically expressed in GSTs.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Plant Molecular Biology Reporter
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    • "In the present investigation, we focused on the last of these four aspects and analyzed the synergistic interaction of a compound derived from Chinese medicine (artesunate) and a compound established in Western academic medicine (captopril). Artemisia annua L. (Sweet Wormwood, qinghao) is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fever and chills [15, 16]. In the 1970s, the active principle of the plant, artemisinin, has been identified as an antimalarial sesquiterpene [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Inhibition of angiogenesis represents one major strategy of cancer chemotherapy. In the present investigation, we investigated the synergism of artesunate and captopril to inhibit angiogenesis. Artesunate is an antimalarial derivative of artemisinin from the Chinese medicinal plant, Artemisia annua L., which also reveals profound anticancer activity in vitro and in vivo. Captopril is an angiotensin I-converting (ACE) inhibitor, which is well established in Western academic medicine. Both compounds inhibited migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in vitro. The combination of both drugs resulted in synergistically inhibited migration. Whereas artesunate inhibited HUVEC growth in the XTT assay, captopril did not, indicating independent modes of action. We established a chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay of quail embryos (Coturnix coturnix L.) and a computer-based evaluation routine for quantitative studies on vascularization processes in vivo. Artesunate and captopril inhibited blood vessel formation and growth. For the first time, we demonstrated that both drugs revealed synergistic effects when combined. These results may also have clinical impact, since cardiovascular diseases and cancer frequently occur together in older cancer patients. Therefore, comorbid patients may take advantage, if they take captopril to treat cardiovascular symptoms and artesunate to treat cancer.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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