Many claims from herbal medicines have been developed to manage COVID-19. Tests for identity and purity are important parameters in the quality assurance of herbal medicines. The aim of this study is to confirm the presence of Artemisia annua as a component of COVID-ORGANICS, an acclaimed herbal product for the management of COVID-19 in comparism with Artemisia annua cultivated at NIPRD, Abuja, Nigeria. Pharmacognostic and physicochemical investigations, Thin Layer and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography of COVID-ORGANICS and Artemisia annua were carried out using standard procedures. Similar microscopic features viz T-shaped, glandular, unicellular and uniseriate trichomes, wavy epidermal cells with anomocytic stomata and prismatic calcium oxalate crystals characteristic of A. annua were observed. Moisture, total ash and sulphated ash contents ranged from 8.5 ± 0.0 to 10.4 ± 0.2%w/w; 7.8 ± 0.5 to 12.1 ± 0.1%w/w and 9.7 ± 0.3 to 15.9 ± 0.4%w/w, respectively while water and alcohol soluble extractive values ranged from 20.6 ± 0.5 to 33.7 ± 0.7%w/w; and 23.4 ± 0.6 to 38.2 ± 0.6%w/w respectively. TLC and HPLC profiles showed artemisinin in evaluated samples. The findings confirm that COVID-ORGANICS contain Artemisia annua. The domestication of A. annua in Nigeria along with studies carried out, has shown the capacity and technical know-how to develop a phytomedicine from A. annua for management of COVID-19 associated symptoms. This is possible with the provision of the enabling environment in order to provide medicines’ security. Relevant policies are therefore needed to prioritise the development of the sector.
Keywords: COVID-ORGANICS, Artemisia annua, pharmacognostic studies, chromatographic fingerprint