Artemisia annua, also known as “sweet Absinthe,” is a herbaceous plant belonging to the family Asteraceae , native of Hunan Province in China. It is a plant that in ancient China was already used for more than 2,000 years, both for the prevention and for the treatment of numerous diseases, including:
- viral infections,
- intestinal parasites,
- lack of appetite,
- digestive difficulties,
- little or no menstruation ,
- malaria .
Speaking of malaria, it is a plant that today, for better or for worse, causes much discussion: defined in 2001 by the WHO ” the greatest hope for the treatment of malaria “, starting from 2012 it was banned by the WHO itself. and it was subsequently banned from marketing in many countries, including France and Belgium.
Yet in many parts of Africa, they have never stopped using it .
Among these is Madagascar , where Artemisia annua is not only used for the treatment of malaria, but also for another plague that continues to spread all over the world: Covid-19.
On April 21, 2020, in a press release, the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina , officially launched a drug that he believes can prevent and treat Covid-19 infection . Developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research and branded COVID Organics, the alleged new cure contains Artemisia annua.
Initially, many were convinced that it was just a huge hoax, but recently a new study has been published, which seems to confirm the antiviral activity of this plant.
And that’s not all, Artemisia annua always promises well even in the oncology field .
In recent studies ( 1 , 2 ) Artemisia annua and some of its derivatives, including artemisinin, have shown interesting and promising anticancer activities.
Soon we will also talk about this, but let’s go in order by starting to talk about Artemisia for the treatment of malaria.
Is Artemisia annua really effective against Malaria?
Over the centuries, in the southern provinces of China, Artemisia annua has been successfully used over and over again for the treatment of malaria .
In the Vietnam War
In recent history this plant was used for the treatment of malaria by Việt Cộng soldiers, during the Vietnam War (1959-1975).
While American soldiers equally affected by the disease, used a mefloquine treatment, known by the trade name of Lariam®, less effective than Artemisia and not without worrying neuropsychological side effects: nightmares, memory loss, paranoia, depression and suicidal thoughts. .
A discovery that is worth the Nobel Prize for medicine
In 2015, Dr. Tu Youyou is the twelfth woman and the first Chinese doctor to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine ; but, above all, the first to have done so with a research that has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine.
Youyou Tu, 84-year-old researcher, was in fact awarded for her research on artemisinin , an anti-malarial active ingredient extracted from Artemisia annua.
Thanks to this very important discovery, Artemisia and its active ingredient, Artemisinin, are now used in many areas of the world for the treatment of malaria. But yet….
The contradictions of the WHO
In 2001, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared: ” Artemisia annua represents the greatest hope in the world against malaria “.
In 2012, however, WHO members seem to have changed their minds and are beginning to advise against its use, as in their opinion, there are not enough studies to demonstrate its safety. In the wake of these recommendations, countries such as France and Belgium even go so far as to prohibit its marketing.
Meanwhile, in the fight against Malaria, drugs with heavy side effects, such as Lariam®, continue to be used.
Why these contradictions? Are there any economic interests at stake that are worth more than people’s lives?
This thorny topic is discussed by Dr. Jérôme Munyangi , former WHO member and today at the forefront of the fight against malaria together with the French NGO “La Maison De L’artemisia”! Find here his interview: Click here to read it .
Artemisia annua and COVID19
We discussed it at the end of April, when the president of Madagascar declared “ We will cure the coronavirus with a remedy based on plants grown in Madagascar. ”One of the basic ingredients of this remedy was precisely Artemisia annua.
Not much news has leaked since then, except for a recent study, which seems to confirm the antiviral properties of this plant.
In fact, after months of analysis, the Max Planck Institute in Potsdam in Germany announced that dried Artemisia annua extract has been shown to be effective against Coronavirus and that further clinical trials will soon be launched in the United States and Mexico on affected patients. from Covid-19 . For more information, I invite you to read this article .
Artemisia annua and Cancer
The alleged anticancer properties of Artemisia annua have already been discussed for several years, but research – as always happens when it comes to natural products – is proceeding very slowly.
There are no certainties for now, but there are some doctors who have been using Artemisia annua and its extracts for several years as an integrated therapy to traditional oncological treatments.
One of these doctors is Dr. Ivano Ferri Hammamber , member of the ARTOI association (Association for the research of integrated oncological therapies).
In an interview a few years ago, Dr. Hammamberg, together with his colleague, Dr. Andrea Passini explains in more detail the properties and use of this plant.
Click here to read and watch the video of the interview.
How is Artemisia annua used?
For millennia Artemisia annua has been used in its natural form, i.e. as a powder, or for the preparation of herbal teas. Even today in many African countries, Artemisia is used in this way.
The Artemisia annua herbal tea is prepared as follows : add a teaspoon of dried Artemisia leaves and / or flowers to a cup of hot water (about 250 ml). It is left to infuse for about 10 minutes and then filtered and drunk.
Erbe di Mauro: cultivation of Artemisia annua
Erbe di Mauro farm has been cultivating Artemisia annua for more than 6 years.
The company complies with rigorous organic and biodynamic cultivation standards, both for Artemisia annua and for the other cultivated plants, guaranteeing the total absence of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers or other products that can damage the environment or those who use the our products.
Once harvested, Artemisia annua is used to make herbal teas and powders both for food use and as an air freshener.
Discover Erbe di Mauro products based on Artemisia annua >>
ARTEMISIA ANNUA HERBAL TEA, 70G
- Italian product
- Ingredients: Artemisia Annua, dried leaves and flowers
- Pack of 70g/ 500g/ 1kg
- Company: Erbe di Mauro
NB : All information published on this site is informative and should not be considered as advice, or medical prescriptions, or other.