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Sweet annie (Artemisia annua)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Artemether, Artemisia annua, Artemisia annua essential oil, Artemisia apiacea, artemisia ketone, Artemisia lancea, arteannuin-B, arteether, artemether, artemetin, artemisinic acid, artemisinin, artemotil, artenimol, artesunate, artimesinin, beta-caryophyllene, beta-selinene, camphor, Chinese wormwood, deoxyartemisinin, dihydroartemisinin, dihydroqinghaosu, endoperoxide sesquiterpene lactone artemisinin, friedelan-3 beta-ol, friedelin, germacrene D, oriental wormwood, qing hao (Chinese), qing hao su (Chinese), qinghaosu (Chinese), quercetagetin 6,7,3',4'-tetramethyl ether, quinghao (Chinese), sodium artesunate, stigmasterol, sweet wormwood, thanh hao (Vietnamese), trans-pinocarveol, yin-chen.
  • Note: This monograph does not include information on wormwood (absinthe, Artemisia absinthium) or mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Sweet annie (Artemisia annua) is also known as Chinese wormwood or sweet wormwood. Although it is in the same genus as both wormwood (absinthe, Artemisia absinthium) and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), each of these herbs have different uses and should not be confused.
  • For more than 1,500 years, sweet annie tea was used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat fevers, although the herb fell out of favor for a few centuries (1;2;3;4). In 1970, a TCM handbook from the 5th Century was discovered and stimulated interest in sweet annie. Although originally used to treat fevers, sweet annie was not used specifically for malaria.
  • Sweet annie's main active constituent is artemisinin, which has shown rapid antimalarial activity in humans, especially when used as an adjuvant with standard antimalarial drugs (5;6;7;8;9;10;11;12;13). Derivatives of artemisinin, including arteether, artemether, artemotil, artenimol, artesunate, and dihydroartemisinin, are also currently being used to treat drug-resistant and non-drug resistant malaria (1;14;15;16;17;18;19;20;21;22;23;24). Although much clinical research has been dedicated to artemisinin and its derivatives, only a few clinical studies are currently available that use Artemisia annua to treat malaria (25;26).
  • Considered a weed by some, the plant can be grown in many climates, and a simple and effective preparation of Artemisia annua could be a much-needed, inexpensive, convenient weapon against malaria (27). In addition to its promise in treating malaria, preliminary evidence indicates that sweet annie may have potential as an antineoplastic (18;28;29;30;31;32;33;34;35) and an antiviral (36). However, high quality clinical trials are needed in these areas before sweet annie can be recommended.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.