Artemisia annua is also called Sweet Wormwood, Sweet Annie, Sweet Sagewort or Annual Wormwood (Chinese: 青蒿; pinyin: qīnghāo), is a common type of wormwood that is native to temperate Asia, but naturalized throughout the world. Artemisia does have health benefits and can cure diseases. This herb has the possibility to cure cancer.
Historical Medicinal Usage
Sweet Wormwood was used by Chinese herbalists in ancient times to treat fever, but had fallen out of common use, but was rediscovered in 1970′s when the Chinese Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergency Treatments (340 AD) was found. This pharmacopeia contained recipes for a tea from dried leaves, prescribed for fevers (not specifically malaria). Historically wormwood has been used as a parasitic worm killer, an aphrodisiac, tonic and to induce perspiration.
The plant is traditionally used for reducing fevers, inflammation, headache, bleeding and for treating malaria and has been shown to have antibacterial properties
The species has naturalized in the United States and is sold on a limited scale as a dried herb for the floral and craft trade where it is used as an aromatic wreath. The plant has traditionally been grown in China as a medicinal and, more recently in Europe for its aromatic leaves which are used in flavoring beverages.
Artemisia annua Health Benefits
There are some beneficial uses of this wormwood constituent however, as thujone shows promise as an antioxidant. It also appears to have moderate antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Without doubt the most famous therapeutic use of wormwood is the expulsion of parasitic worms. Many reference works continue to list wormwood as an effective vermifuge, and some also list it for it’s antibacterial and antifungal actions.
Native people use an infusion of the leaves internally to treat fever, colds, and diarrhea. The seeds are used to treat night sweats, indigestion and gas.
Wormwood is used internally to treat liver insufficiency, kidney oedema, anemia and absence of the menstrual cycle, anxiety, gout and it is generally good for all the diseases that involve the retention of water in tissues.
Wormwood is a good cicatrizing. The infusion can be used to treat ulcerations and the oil can be applied on wounds. Externally it is also used to treat hemorrhoids and vaginitis.
The bitter compounds and the volatile oil components have an excitant action over gastric secretion, they are anti-inflammatory and anthelmintic. Wormwood increases diuresis and can be used as a laxative.
Scientists at the University of York, UK, have published the first genetic map of Artemisia annua, a medicinal herb which is used for malaria treatment. The genetic map now makes it possible to speed up plant breeding of Artemisia; rapidly developing it into a high-yielding crop. This breakthrough is crucial if we want to meet the ever-growing demand for effective malaria treatments.
Artemisia annua Cancer Cure
Terpenoids and flavonoids derived from Artemisia annua have cytotoxic activities in several human tumor cell lines. Two of the components, artemisinin and artesunate, have been studied as anticancer treatments.
According to a paper in Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine, “Artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone derived from the sweet wormwood plant Artemisia annua, and its bioactive derivatives exhibit potent anticancer effects in a variety of human cancer cell model systems. The pleiotropic response in cancer cells includes growth inhibition by cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, inhibition of angiogenesis, disruption of cell migration, and modulation of nuclear receptor responsiveness.”
Another research was conducted by two bioengineering research professors at the University of Washington have rediscovered wormwood as a promising potential treatment for cancer among the ancient arts of Chinese folk medicine.
Research professor Henry Lai and assistant research professor Narendra Singh have exploited the chemical properties of a wormwood derivative to target breast cancer cells with surprisingly effective results. A study in the latest issue of the journal Life Sciences describes how the derivative killed virtually all human breast cancer cells exposed to it within 16 hours.
“Not only does it appear to be effective, but it’s very selective,” Lai said. “It’s highly toxic to the cancer cells but has a marginal impact on normal breast cells.”
Artemisinin, the compound that Lai and Singh have found to fight cancers, isn’t new either. It was extracted from the plant Artemisia annua L., commonly known as wormwood, thousands of years ago by the Chinese, who used it to combat the mosquito-borne disease malaria. The treatment with artemisinin was lost over time but rediscovered during an archaeological dig in the 1970s that unearthed recipes for ancient medical remedies.
Artemisia annua Dosage
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for sweet annie in adults.
Children (under 18 years old)
The tincture is recommended for gastritis, anorexia, asthenia, fever, flu, pneumonia, intoxications and infections with Giardia. It can be prepared from 25g of mashed herb macerated in 120ml of 75o alcohol for 8 days. One spoon of tincture dissolved in 100ml of water must be administrated 3 or 4 times a day.
There is no proven safe or effective dose for sweet annie in children.
Artemisia annua Precautions
Post partum women with anemia should not take Artemisia.
Patients with ulcers or gastrointestinal disorders should not take Artemisia
Artemisia annua Products
Artemisia annua can be bought as an extract, capsule, powder online. Check out products in Google.
Artemisia annua Research Links
Developing Artemisia annua, for the extraction of Artemisinin to treat multi-drug resistant malaria.
Genetics of Artemisia annua and Antimalarial Drug Production
Artemisia annua will be evaluated as an anti-cancer therapy.