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J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Aug 22;190:313-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.06.041. Epub 2016 Jun 20.

Effect of leaf digestion and artemisinin solubility for use in oral consumption of dried Artemisia annua leaves to treat malaria.

Author information

1
Department of Biology & Biotechnology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Rd., Worcester, MA 01609, USA.
2
Department of Biology & Biotechnology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Rd., Worcester, MA 01609, USA. Electronic address: weathers@wpi.edu.

Abstract

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE:

Artemisia annua L. produces the antimalarial sesquiterpene lactone, artemisinin (AN), and was traditionally used by the Chinese to treat fever, which was often caused by malaria.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

To measure effects of plant-based and dietary components on release of artemisinin and flavonoids from A. annua dried leaves (DLA) after simulated digestion.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Simulated digestion was performed on DLA in four types of capsules, or in conjunction with protein, and protein-based foods: dry milk, casein, bovine serum albumin, peanuts, peanut butter, Plumpy'nut(®), and A. annua essential oils. Artemisinin and total flavonoids were measured in the liquid phase of the intestinal stage of digestion.

RESULTS:

After simulated digestion, peanuts and Plumpy'nut(®) lowered AN and flavonoids, respectively, recovered from the liquid digestate fraction. None of the compositions of the tested capsules altered AN or flavonoid release. Surprisingly, bovine serum albumin (BSA) increased both AN and flavonoids recovered from liquid simulated digestate fractions while casein had no effect. AN delivered as DLA was about 4 times more soluble in digestates than AN delivered as pure drug. Addition of a volume of essential oil equivalent to that found in a high essential oil producing A. annua cultivar also significantly increased AN solubility in simulated digestates.

CONCLUSION:

These results indicate encapsulating DLA may provide a way to mask the taste of A. annua without altering bioavailability. Similarly, many peanut-based products can be used to mask the flavor with appropriate dosing. Finally, the essential oil fraction of A. annua contributes to the increased AN solubility in DLA after simulated digestion. Our results suggest that use of DLA in the treatment of malaria and other artemisinin-susceptible diseases should be further tested in animals and humans.

KEYWORDS:

Artemisinin; Bioavailability; Digestion; Essential oils; Flavonoids; Malaria; Sesquiterpenoids; pACT

PMID:
27340104
PMCID:
PMC5010509
DOI:
10.1016/j.jep.2016.06.041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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