Artemisia herba-alba

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Artemisia herba-alba
Artemisia herba-alba 2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. herba-alba
Binomial name
Artemisia herba-alba
Asso

Artemisia herba-alba, also known as white wormwood, is a perennial shrub in the genus Artemisia that grows commonly on the steppes of the Mediterranean regions in Northern Africa, Western Asia and Southwestern Europe, and in the Arabian Peninsula and Saharan Maghreb xeric steppes.[1] It is also an antiseptic and antispasmodic herbal medicine.

Common names[edit]

Artemisia herba-alba is called "white wormwood" in English, "armoise blanche" in French, "shīeḥ" (الشيح) in arabic,[2] and referred as "la'anah" (לענה) in the Old Testament Hebrew.[3][4]

Botanical description[edit]

Artemisia herba-alba is a chamaeophyte that grows to 20–40 cm (8–16 in). Leaves are strongly aromatic and covered with fine glandular hairs that reflect sunlight giving a grayish aspect to the shrub. The leaves of sterile shoots are grey, petiolate, ovate to orbicular in outline; whereas, the leaves of flowering stems, more abundant in winter, are much smaller.

The flowering heads are sessile, oblong and tapering at base. The plant flowers from September to December.[5] The receptacle is naked with 2–5 yellowish hermaphrodite flowers per head.[6]

Artemisia herba-alba, the 'white wormwood,' in garden

Phytochemistry[edit]

Essential oil of A. herba-alba, from the Sinai Desert, contains mainly 1,8-cineole and appreciable amounts of alpha and beta-thujone as well as other oxygenated monoterpenes including terpinen-4-ol, camphor and borneol.[7] Davanone, chrysanthenone and cis-chrysanthenol have been described as major constituents in some populations of A. herba-alba from Morocco[8] and Spain.[9] Less common non-head-to-tail monoterpene alcohols have been identified in some populations from Negev desert, such as santolina alcohol and yomogi alcohol.[10]

Eudesmanolide and germacranolide sesquiterpenes have been detected in the methanol extract of aerial parts, collected in Egypt.[11]

Two bioactive flavonoids, assumed to be hispidulin and cirsiliol, were isolated by chromatography from aerial parts ethyl acetate-extract.[12]

Uses[edit]

Artemisia herba-alba is good fodder for grazing animals, mainly sheep, and in the Algerian steppes cattle.[7][13]

Herbal medicine[edit]

This species of sagebrush is widely used in herbal medicine for its antiseptic, vermifuge and antispasmodic properties.[7] Artemisia herba-alba was reported as a traditional remedy of enteritis, and various intestinal disturbances, among the Bedouins in the Negev desert.[14] In fact, essential oil showed antibacterial activity,[15] as well as, antispasmodic activity on rabbits.[7]

A. herba-alba based teas were used in Iraqi folk medicine for the treatment of diabetes mellitus.[16] An aqueous extract of aerial parts of the plant has shown a hypoglycemic effect in alloxan-induced diabetic rabbits and mice.[17][18][19]

Culture[edit]

Artemisia herba-alba is thought to be the plant translated as "wormwood" in English language versions of the Bible ("apsinthos" in the Greek text). Wormwood is mentioned seven times in the Jewish Bible, always with the implication of bitterness. Wormwood is mentioned once in the New Testament, as the name of a star, also with implications of bitterness. [20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GRIN Taxonomy for Plants. "Artemisia herba-alba Asso". Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Gallisai, F. Guiso (2002). "Artemisia herba-alba Asso". Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius (1998). "Hebrew Lexicon entry for La`anah". The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon. Lockman Foundation. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Plants in the Bible: Wormwood" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ Feinbrun Dothan, N. (1978). "Flora Palaestina: part 3. Ericaceae to Compositae". Jerusalem, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities 2: 351–3. 
  6. ^ Pottier-Alapetite, G. (1979). "Flore de la Tunisie: part 2. Dicotyledones, Gamopetales". Tunis, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (in French) 2: 1012–3. 
  7. ^ a b c d Yashphe, J.; Feuerstein, I.; Barel, S.; Segal, R. (1987). "The Antibacterial and Antispasmodic Activity of Artemisia herba alba Asso. II. Examination of Essential Oils from Various Chemotypes". Pharmaceutical Biology 25 (2): 89–96. doi:10.3109/13880208709088133. 
  8. ^ Benjilali, B.; Sarris, J.; Richard, H. (1982). "Nouveaux chémotypes d' Artemisia herba-alba". Sci. Aliment. 2: 515–527.  (French)
  9. ^ Salido, S.; Valenzuela, L. R.; Altarejos, J. et al. (2004). "Composition and infraspecific variability of Artemisia herba-alba from southern Spain". Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 32 (3): 265–77. doi:10.1016/j.bse.2003.09.002.  (French)
  10. ^ Segal, Ruth; Breuer, Aviva; Feuerstein, Ilan (1980). "Irregular monoterpene alcohols from Artemisia herba-alba". Phytochemistry 19 (12): 2761–2. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)83962-X. 
  11. ^ Ahmed, A.A.; Abou-El-Ela, M.; Jakupovic, J.; El-Din, A.A.Seif; Sabri, N. (1990). "Irregular monoterpene alcohols from Artemisia herba-alba". Phytochemistry 29 (11): 3661–3. doi:10.1016/0031-9422(90)85297-S. 
  12. ^ Salah, Sam Medhat; Jäger, Anna Katharina (2005). "Two flavonoids from Artemisia herba-alba Asso with in vitro GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor activity". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 99 (1): 145–6. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.01.031. PMID 15848034. 
  13. ^ Houmani, Mohamed; Houmani, Zahia; Skoula, Melpomeni (2004). "Interest of Artemisia herba alba asso for the food of cattle in Algerian steppes". Acta botanica gallica 151 (2): 165–172. ISSN 1253-8078. 
  14. ^ Friedman J, Yaniv Z, Dafni A, Palewitch D (June 1986). "A preliminary classification of the healing potential of medicinal plants, based on a rational analysis of an ethnopharmacological field survey among Bedouins in the Negev desert, Israel". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 16 (2–3): 275–87. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(86)90094-2. PMID 3747566. 
  15. ^ Yashphe J, Segal R, Breuer A, Erdreich-Naftali G (July 1979). "Antibacterial activity of Artemisia herba-alba". Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 68 (7): 924–5. doi:10.1002/jps.2600680742. PMID 458619. 
  16. ^ Al-Waili NS, (July 1986). "Treatment of diabetes mellitus by Artemisia herba-alba extract: preliminary study". Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology 13 (7): 569–574. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1681.1986.tb00940.x. PMID 3791709. 
  17. ^ Al-Khazraji S M, Al-Shamaony L A, and Twaij H A A (November 1993). "Hypoglycaemic effect of Artemisia herba alba. I: Effect of different parts and influence of the solvent on hypoglycaemia activity". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 49 (1): 51–55. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(93)90064-C. PMID 8145571. 
  18. ^ Al-Shamaony L, Al-Khazraji S M and Twaij H A A (July 1994). "Hypoglycaemic effect of Artemisia herba alba. II: Effect of a valuable extract on some blood parameters in diabetic animals". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 43 (3): 167–171. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(94)90038-8. PMID 7990489. 
  19. ^ Marrifa H I, Alib B H and Hassan K M (November 1995). "Some pharmacological studies on Artemisia herba-alba (Asso.) in rabbits and mice". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 40 (3): 163–166. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(95)01302-4. PMID 8786657. 
  20. ^ Musselman, Lytton John (12 April 2007). "Wormwood". Plant Site: Bible Plants. Old Dominion University. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 

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