Stability of Artemisia tea infusions Part 2.

We are now 24 hours later, so how does the tea infusion perform regarding stability? It actually looks quite okay, to be honest. But just to clarify again what we are looking at. The equipment that we used only detects compounds that absorb UV light, in other words, compounds such as the well known active ingredient, artemisinin, will not be detected. In the figure below you will be able to see a wide range of compounds, some of which we have identified in the past as chlorogenic acid derivatives and a couple of flavonoids and coumarins. All of these compounds are called Phenolics, so strictly speaking we are at the moment only looking at the Phenolic stability of the tea infusion.

Figure 1. Overlayed chromatograms of the fresh A. annua tea infusion (data 1) and after 7 hours (data 2) and 14 hours (data3).

The Phenolic compounds do indeed appear to be remarkably stable, but does this now really say anything? Well, as long as we do not know if the tea infusion is active against Covid 19, and if so, which compound(s) are responsible for activity, it doesn’t really mean much. But nevertheless, we need to gather data, so this exercise will be repeated with the inclusion of an internal standard and using a mass spectrometer (MS) to detect and quantify artemisinin and related compounds. The MS depicted in the photo above has recently been bought by our Faculty for an eye-watering R3.3 million and is currently being installed. If all goes well, we will be able to start using it early next week.

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