Journal of Parasitic Diseases

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 735–740 | Cite as

In vitro efficacy of ethanolic extract of Artemisia absinthium (Asteraceae) against Leishmania major L. using cell sensitivity and flow cytometry assays

  • Kourosh Azizi
  • Fatemeh Shahidi-Hakak
  • Qasem Asgari
  • Gholam Reza Hatam
  • Mohammad Reza Fakoorziba
  • Ramin Miri
  • Mohammad Djaefar Moemenbellah-FardEmail author
Original Article


Leishmaniasis is one of the most neglected human diseases with an estimated global burden ranking second in mortality and fourth in morbidity among the tropical infections. Chemotherapy involving the use of drugs like glucantime is the mainstay treatment in endemic areas of Iran. Drug resistance is increasingly prevalent, so search for alternative therapy is gathering pace. Medicinal herbs, like wormwood Artemisia, have chemical compounds effective against a number of pathogens. In this study, the efficacy of ethanol extract from Artemisia absinthium (Asteraceae) against Leishmania major L. was investigated in vitro. The outcome of different effective doses (1–40 mg/ml) of ethanol extracts from this medicinal herb, A. absinthium, on a standard Iranian parasite strain of L. major was examined. The L. major promastigote cell sensitivity and mortality or viability effects due to the addition of herbal extract were measured using the MTT assay and the flow cytometry technique, respectively. There was complete agreement between the two assays. The lethal concentration (LC50) was measured as 101 mg/ml. Some contrasting relationships between the medicinal herb concentrations and the viability of parasites were observed; so that there was an increased multiplication of the parasite at low concentrations of the drug, but an anti-parasitic apoptotic effect was seen at high concentrations of A. absinthium. It was concluded that there might be one or more chemical constituents within the herbal extract of wormwood which at high concentration controlled cell division and affected the relevant activity within the only one giant mitochondrion in this flagellate parasite. At low doses, however, it showed the opposite effect of leading to mitotic cell divisions.


Wormwood Artemisia Viability assay MTT Leishmania IC50 LC50 



The authors appreciate the improvements to this article that were meticulously proposed by the anonymous peer reviewers. The present paper was extracted from the results of an approved MSc student thesis (No: 90-01-42-3213 Dated 17 March 2011) conducted by the second author, Ms. Fatemeh Shahidi-Hakak. It was financially supported by Shiraz University of Medical Sciences (SUMS). We are also indebted to Ms. Shahrbanu Naderi for assistance in the cell culture. Thanks are due to the Vice-chancellor for Research and Technology at SUMS, for permitting the use of facilities at the university. No competing financial interests exist. No other conflict of interest is also declared.


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Copyright information

© Indian Society for Parasitology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kourosh Azizi
    • 1
  • Fatemeh Shahidi-Hakak
    • 2
  • Qasem Asgari
    • 3
  • Gholam Reza Hatam
    • 3
  • Mohammad Reza Fakoorziba
    • 1
  • Ramin Miri
    • 4
  • Mohammad Djaefar Moemenbellah-Fard
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, Research Centre for Health Sciences, School of HealthShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  2. 2.Department of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, School of HealthShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  3. 3.Department of Parasitology and Mycology, Basic Sciences in Infectious Diseases Research Center, School of MedicineShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  4. 4.Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry Research CentreShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran

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