#12 – Artemisinin (Artemisia annua)

An article on this plant (Sweet Wormwood) was just recently sent to me by a caring and concerned friend.  The article raved about how efficient and effective this herb was at targeting and killing cancerous cells, especially when the dosage taken was paired with iron.  Throughout the internet there is a number of references to the medicinal properties of this plant.  It is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, referred to as Qinghaosu.  Studies on Qinghaosu have been conducted in relation to its anti-malarial properties as well as its potential anti-cancer properties.

When it comes to cancer, the claims on this herb are crazy.  Anytime I hear or read anything that sounds too good to be true I am very skeptical.  However, this herb has been used on humans for the treatment of malaria, so we know that human tolerance for specific dosages unique to malaria have been determined.  It’s efficacy in dealing with malaria is well documented, and many studies are available to support its use.  It was through these studies that the potential anti-cancer properties were identified, however, more study is required. Many drugs have started off life as a treatment for one human condition and then discovered to be effective in dealing with another completely unrelated condition, illness or disease.  For example,  I take a blood pressure medication daily but I don’t have high blood pressure.  I suffer with sinus-related migraines and a low dose BP medication taken daily has significantly alleviated my incident of migraine.  (Not the best example I know since it is all vascular…)  Anyway, in my case, this has helped when nothing else would.

I plan on doing more research on this particular item.  I’d love to find someone who has taken this particular remedy or supplement for cancer.  First hand knowledge is the best.  In the interim I will file this one under “future follow up.”  For those who are interested, there are plenty of scholarly articles out there, here’s an excerpt from one:

“Artesunate is a semisynthetic derivative from artemisinin, a natural product from the Chinese herb Artemisia annua L. It exerts antimalarial activity, and, additionally, artemisinin and its derivatives are active against cancer cells.”  (“Artesunate Derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine Induces DNA Damage and Repair“.  Paul C.H. Li, Elena Lam, Wynand P. Roos, Malgorzata Z. Zdzienicka, Bernd Kaina, and Thomas Efferth.  American Association for Cancer Research.  2008)