Planta Med 2010; 76 - P451
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1264749

Evaluation of stability of constituents of herbal drug preparations from Artemisia annua L.

P Timóteo 1, C Wessels 1, C Righeschi 1, H Goris 2, A Bilia 1
  • 1University of Florence, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Via Ugo Schiff 6, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy
  • 2Hanze University Groningen, Institute for Life Sciences and Technology, Zernikeplein 11, 9747 AS Groningen, Netherlands

Artemisia annua L. (Asteraceae) is an annual herb that is native of China, but naturalized throughout the world, especially in Europe, America and Africa continents. This herb is a traditional Chinese medicine, used for more than 2000 years for treating many fever disorders including malaria. The active antimalarial constituent, artemisinin, a unique sesquiterpene lactone, has been largely used in therapy. Chemical composition of A. annua consists of volatile and non-volatile constituents (sesquiterpenoids, and polyphenols including flavonoids and coumarins). In a recent publication the need for evaluating both the active artemisinin and the polymethoxyflavonoids in the quality assesment of the herbal drugs are reported [1]. A number of simple preparations (decoctions, infusions) and other herbal drug preparations (oil suspensions) obtained from A. annua leaves are being developed in many poor countries (especially Africa) for therapeutic applications because of their low cost [2]. In this report A. annua raw materials, including sachets of aluminium packages and oily formulations, were investigated for their stability during storage at 30°C, 60% RH for six months. The content of artemisinin and flavonoids was then evaluated by HPLC/DAD/ESI-MS. The stability results, after six months, showed that artemisinin is stable in the sachets of aluminium with a degradation of about 16%, while the main polymethoxylated flavonoids, ranged between 6.8 and 15.8. The artemisinin in the oil suspension showed a degradation of about 22% and the polymethoxylated flavonoids, ranged between 0 and about 18.75%.

Acknowledgements: Hanze University Groningen, Institute for Life Sciences and Technology, Groningen (NE) in combination with Erasmus European Comission Education & Training for the fellowship to Cristiaan Wessel.

References: 1. Bilia et al. (2006) Phytomedicine. 13: 487–493.

2. Baraldi et al. (2008) Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 36: 340–348.