To evaluate the protective effect of
infusion against malaria in a community that uses it as herbal ‘tea’ for malaria prevention.
132 flower farm workers who met the study inclusion criteria and were not yet using A. annua
infusion were randomized either to A. annua
or placebo groups in the ratio of 1:1. Treatments were administered once a week under direct observation to participants. Malaria episodes were documented over a 9-month period while adverse effects were documented over 12 months.
Results: A. annua
herbal ‘tea’ significantly reduced the risk of suffering more than one episode of malaria in nine months by 55 % (12/67 vs 26/65, p = 0.005 No participant experienced any serious adverse effect although bitter taste was the most common side effect of the infusion.
Conclusion: Artemisia annua
infusion consumed once a week was effective in preventing multiple episodes of malaria in humans living in malaria endemic areas. However, its bitter taste and the risk of development of malaria parasite resistance to the artemisinin contained in it remain major challenges for its use in the mass control of malaria.