Artemisia vulgaris

 

Artemisia vulgaris

Synonyms

No documentation

Vernacular Name

Crini (black) pelin, fuchiba, yomogi, Mugwort

Description

Artemisia vulgaris known by its common name, Mugwort, and is a perennial plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family.[1] It has been used throughout history for a variety of medicinal purposes and is consumed as a vegetable and/or flood flavoring agent in certain parts of the world. The chemical compositions of A. vulgaris differ by country and the part plant used.[2]

A. vulgaris, or Mugwort, is a flowering perennial weed from the family Asteraceae.  Growing to a height of 1-2m, A. vulgaris is a hardy plant with a persistent rhizome and a woody stem. The stem, becoming woody with age, is reddish brown in color, heavily branched, pubescent. Beginning at the base of the plant, A. vulgaris branches in many directions, with the lowest branches being the longest. At the end of these branches, the leaves of A. vulgaris are large, ranging from 5-20cm in length. Pinnate, simple and deeply lobed, the leaves are covered in a dense pubescence on their underside.  The upper side of the leave is either glabrous or lightly pubescent. Between the months of July and September, A. vulgaris produces small, inconspicuous flowers. Occuring in clusters at the apex of the plant, these red to white flowers grow to a width of only 3mm.  The narrow heads of the flowers spread out in racemose panicles.

Origin / Habitat

A. vulgaris is thought to originate from warm climates in Asia and Europe, specifically Morocco. A. vulgaris grows along roadsides, fences and by rivers, growing very aggressively making it a common weed. This plant needs full semi-shade to full sun and needs moist water. A. vulgaris thrives in slightly acidic soils, and can grow in loamy and clay soils.

Chemical Constituents

Monoterpenes:

Acyclic (myrcene, linalool)

Bicyclic (b-thujone (aerial only), eucalyptol, sabinene, camphor, pinene)

Monocyclic (phellandrene)

Sesquiterpenes (b-caryophyllene, b-eudesmol (root only))

Flavonoids (luteolin, eriodictyol, apigenin)

Coumarins (7-hydroxycoumarin)[2],[4],[5]

Plant Part Used

Dried leaves, roots and stems

Medicinal Uses

General

Antimicrobial

Antioxidant

Digestive aid[2],[6],[3]

Liver conditions

Pain

Emmenagogue[5]

 

Most Frequently Reported Uses

Antimicrobial

Antioxidant

Digestive aid[2],[6],[3]

Dosage

Dosage Range

0.2-2.0g of aerial portions of the plants, dried, with equivalent used in varying preparations and use not to exceed 3 times per day.[3]

 

Most Common Dosage

One gram dried herb, one to two times per day depending upon application.

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

The antimicrobial activity of A. vulgaris has been assessed through disk diffusion method. Through initial identification of constituents of oil samples, followed by antimicrobial analysis of the oils of A. vulgaris and subsequent antimicrobial analysis of the primary constituents of the oils, a correlation was observed between the antimicrobial activity levels varying between oil obtained from root versus aerial sources and the absence of thujone constituents in the root oil. Furthermore, the root oil possessed a greatly reduced concentration of eucalyptol (1,8-cineole) when compared to the oil obtained from aerial portions of the A. vulgaris plant.[1] As the oil made from the aerial samples of A. vulgaris showed broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity comparable to established antibiotics as positive controls, the presence of the thujones and/or eucalyptol may be essential for manifestation of antimicrobial activity.[8],[2] Thereby, if used for antimicrobial purposes, it may be pertinent to procure oils made from the aerial portions of the A. vulgaris plant versus the root. Recent research employing Vero cell cultures and subsequent virus yield assay to determine the minimum concentration of essential oil that inhibited the virus titer by more than fifty-percent has indicated that the essential oil of A. vulgaris possesses antiviral properties and may inactivate the yellow fever virus.[9]

The in vitro and in vivo experiments have been completed in order to assess the antioxidant properties of extracts of A. vulgaris. In vitro assays assessed the antioxidant activity of the extract through analysis of free radical scavenging (nitric oxide and 2,2-diphenyl, 2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) levels) with the extract showing antioxidant activity comparable to the positive control level for the DPPH assay but not nitric oxide.[6] Results from colorimetric assay and high performance liquid chromatography analyses have supported the antioxidant activity of A. vulgaris; reductions in DPPH free radicals were found.[10] In vivo investigations comparing rats treated with A. vulgaris extract to control animals suggest therapy with A. vulgaris increases markers of antioxidant activity, namely superoxide dismutase and glutathione levels. The treated rats also showed increased serum levels of ascorbic acid when compared to control animals.[6]

The extract of A. vulgaris has been evaluated for antinociceptive properties in vivo through employment of established methods such as hot plate and formalin tests, to assess analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of an agent following induction of acute or persistent pain. The administration of A. vulgaris extract did not alter results of the hot plate nor formalin test when compared to control animals. However, experiments in animal models show that administration of the extract reduces chemically-induced abdominal contractions indicative of visceral pain (writhing) thereby supporting the ethnopharmacological use of A. vulgaris in the treatment of gastrointestinal pain.[11] The observed reduction in pain may be attributable to a reduction in inflammation, as several flavonoid components of A. vulgaris (i.e. apigenin and luteolin) have been shown to inhibit nitric oxide production, an important mediator of inflammation.[12]

The ingestion of large amounts of vegetables within Okinawa, Japan has been theorized to correlate with the low mortality rates observed in this region and to be attributable to increased potassium intake as a result of high vegetable consumption. One such vegetable consumed regularly is Fuchiba (A. vulgaris); increased consumption of Okinawan vegetables in one study showed an increase in potassium excretion as compared to control, with all other parameters measured (blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, etc) remaining unchanged.[13] The results of this investigation appear to support the current correlational theory between consumption of potassium-containing vegetables and lower mortality rates.

The in vivo studies illustrate the hepatoprotective potential of A. vulgaris. Chemically-induced hepatitis was used to investigate the effect of pretreatment with crude extract of A. vulgaris in mice and confirmed by subsequent increases in alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase.[14] When compared to the toxin only and control groups, pretreatment with the A. vulgaris extract attenuated the toxin-induced increases in alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase.[7] Histopathological examination validated the observed hepatoprotective effect. When the livers of the animals pretreated with A. vulgaris extract were compared to the livers of the animals chemically-induced to display hepatitis, overall architecture was improved and cellular swelling reduced.[7]

There have been some suggestions that A. vulgaris may be effective as an anticancer agent.  However the research is limited in this area. Extracts of A. vulgaris have been examined using the Ames mutagenesis assay and were shown to have antimutagenicity against two mutagens, Trp-P-1 and Trp-P-2.[15]

Clinical

No documentation

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

Agents that reduce the seizure threshold (alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines), certain antidepressants (bupropion hydrochloride)

Hypoglycemic agents

Antihypertensive agents

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents

Antimicrobial agents

Interferon preparations

Chemotherapeutic agents

Agents with antioxidant properties

Agents used for hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

A. vulgaris should be used with caution in diabetic patients as it has been shown to increase blood glucose levels.[17]

Pregnancy

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant should not use A. vulgaris due to the potential for abortifacient effects and the insufficiency of information existing concerning the use of A. vulgaris supplements during lactation and in pediatric patients.

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

One of the primary etiologies of pollinosis, within European countries in particular, is the pollen produced by A. vulgaris.[18],[19] The pollen of A. vulgaris is comprised of profilin, calcium-binding proteins and additional substances that appear to contribute to the significant allergenic cross-reactivity observed in pollen-sensitized patients.[18],[20] Moreover, the Celery-Mugwort-Spice syndrome has been described in the literature in pollen-sensitized patients.[19] Patients showing an allergic reaction to celery typically present with sensitization to A. vulgaris and spices, indicating an extensive cross-reactivity between members of the Asteraceae and Apiaceae families.[21],[19] Thereby, use of A. vulgaris should be used with caution in patients possessing allergies to celery, fennel, parsley, anise, sunflower and any additional members of the Apiaceae and Asteraceae families.[7] Cross-reactivity has also been suggested between chamomile, hazelnuts, pistachios, tobacco and mangos.[21],[22],[23] Additionally, one case study has emerged documenting a reaction believed to be idiosyncratic resulting in the presentation of anaphylaxis in a patient known to have celery-Mugwort-spice syndrome and a sensitization to star anise following therapy with oseltamivir.[24]

Read More

  1) Safety

  2) Native American Herbs

References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service. The PLANTS Database. Available from: http://plants.usda.gov. [Accessed on 7th April 2009].
  2. Blagojević P. Chemical composition of the essential oils of serbian wild-growing Artemisia absinthium and Artemisia vulgaris. J Agric Food Chem. 28 Jun 2006;54(13):4780-4789.
  3. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium: A handbook of scientific information on widely used plant drugs (v. 2). Bournemouth, UK: British Herbal Medical Association; 2006.
  4. Barney JN. Isolation and characterization of allelopathic volatiles from Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). J Chem Ecol. Feb 2005;31(2):247-265.
  5. Lee SJ.  Estrogenic flavonoids from Artemisia vulgaris L.  J Agricul Food Chem. 1998;46:3325-3329.
  6. Temraz A. Characterization of antioxidant activity of extract from Artemisia vulgaris. Pak J Pharm Sci. Oct 2008;21(4):321-326.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Chen CP. Screening of Taiwanese crude drugs for antibacterial activity against Streptococcus mutans. J Ethnopharmacol. Dec 1989;27(3):285-295.
  9. Meneses R. Inhibitory effect of essential oils obtained from plants grown in Colombia on yellow fever virus replication in vitro. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 6 Mar 2009;8:8.
  10. Xiufen W. The antioxidative activity of traditional Japanese herbs. Biofactors. 2004;21(1-4):281-284.
  11. Pires JM. Antinociceptive peripheral effect of Achillea millefolium L. and Artemisia vulgaris L.: both plants known popularly by brand names of analgesic drugs. Phytother Res. Feb 2009;23(2):212-219.
  12. Kim HK. Effects of naturally occurring flavonoids on nitric oxide production in the macrophage cell line RAW 264.7 and their structure-activity relationships. Biochem Pharmacol. 1 Sep 1999;58(5):759-765.
  13. Tuekpe MK. Potassium excretion in healthy Japanese women was increased by a dietary intervention utilizing home-parcel delivery of Okinawan vegetables. Hypertens Res. Jun 2006;29(6):389-396.
  14. Gilani AH. Hepatoprotective activity of aqueous-methanol extract of Artemisia vulgaris. Phytother Res. Feb 2005;19(2):170-172.
  15. Hiramatsu N. Antimutagenicity of Japanese traditional herbs, gennoshoko, yomogi, senburi and iwa-tobacco. Biofactors. 2004;22(1-4):123-125.
  16. European Commission: Scientific Committee on Food. Available from: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scf/out192_en.pdf [Accessed on 2003].
  17. Villaseñor IM. Comparative anti-hyperglycemic potentials of medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 8 Mar 2006;104(1-2):129-131.
  18. Wopfner N. The spectrum of allergens in ragweed and Mugwort pollen. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. Dec 2005;138(4):337-346.
  19. Kurzen M. Occupational allergy to Mugwort. Article in German. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. Apr 2003;1(4):285-290.
  20. Asero R. Artemisia and Ambrosia hypersensitivity: co-sensitization or co-recognition? Clin Exp Allergy. May 2006;36(5):658-665.
  21. Wüthrich B. Food allergy: the celery-Mugwort-spice syndrome. Association with mango allergy? Article in German. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 22 Jun 1984;109(25):981-986.
  22. Ortega N. Tobacco allergy: demonstration of cross-reactivity with other members of Solanaceae family and Mugwort pollen. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. Feb 1999;82(2):194-197.
  23. De la Torre Morín F. Clinical cross-reactivity between Artemisia vulgaris and Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile). J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2001;11(2):118-122.
  24. Hirschfeld G. Anaphylaxis after Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) therapy in a patient with sensitization to star anise and celery-carrot-Mugwort-spice syndrome. Allergy. Feb 2008;63(2):243-244.