The Chinese have known the virtues of Artemisia for more than 2000 years and use this febrifuge plant effectively against malaria and cancer. Around 1990, Chinese scientists sought collaboration with European pharmaceutical industries.
A partir de ce moment là, la science moderne commence à s’intéresser à l’efficacité frappante de cette plante.
Artemisia Annua contains a sesquiterpene lactone, artemisinin, effective against several strains of the parasite responsible for malaria, cancer and viruses. A genetic improvement program initiated eight years ago has made it possible to develop a variety particularly rich in artemisinin (its dried leaves and stems can contain more than 1.3%). This variety has been the subject of a request for protection with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), under the name of Artemis.
Controlling the cultivation of this species is currently the subject of extensive agronomic experimentation, but a certain number of technical indications can already be proposed.
Sow in trays, under a light shelter. Do not cover seeds that germinate in the light. Keep the seedling moist with a spray bottle. When possible, transplant the plants in individual pots then in the ground, when they have 5 to 6 leaves. The distance between plants and from 60 cm to 1 m. Seed germination can take a few days to several weeks.
Sowing period (under cover): January, February, March, April, October, November, December
Frost resistance: Very good
No major pests or pathogens have been observed on this crop to date, no need for chemical treatment.
Maintenance and watering.
The plant has a remarkable development, and therefore the culture quickly covers the ground. However, 1 or 2 weedings may be necessary in the first weeks.
The herbicides that can be used on this species are not yet known, so mechanical weeding is currently recommended: tiller (motor cultivator or tractor) between the rows and weeder on the row.
As far as watering is concerned, the plant tolerates relative drought, even if it reacts well to water supply. It is especially at the planting that a contribution of water can be essential.
Mugwort annual does not require special care. Prune the plant after flowering to prevent it from taking over the whole garden. Try to contain it in a limited space, by cutting with a spade the rhizomes which tend to want to gain ground. It can show itself in certain grounds, invasive, not only by its seeds but also by its rhizomes.
Harvesting, stripping and drying.
The harvest takes place about 3 months after planting, but at the latest when the buds form.
The foliage is picked from spring until the start of flowering. For cooking, only the leaves are harvested, for medicinal use, the flowering stems are also taken.
Mugwort intended for infusions should be dried in the shade and in a warm place (an attic is fine). When the leaves are completely dry, store them in a tightly closed container.
Soil preparation and manure
This mugwort is very easy to grow. Nitrogen-rich soils are well suited to mugwort, it will thrive in drained soil, in full sun. This plant is very resistant to drought and cold. It does not require the addition of organic matter or fertilizer.
The recommended planting density is 60 cm x 60 cm.
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