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 has 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. 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. 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 and convenient weapon against malaria. In addition to its promise in treating malaria, preliminary evidence indicates that sweet annie may have potential as an anticancer agent and an antiviral.
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, friedelin, germacrene D, oriental wormwood, qing hao (Chinese), qing hao su (Chinese), qinghaosu (Chinese), 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).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Certain constituents found in sweet annie show promise when used in combination with standard chemotherapy. However, currently there is not enough scientific evidence in humans to make a strong recommendation for this use.
Malaria is a serious health concern in many poorer parts of the world where modern antimalarial drugs may not be available. Although there has been some interest in using sweet annie as an antimalarial, there is currently not enough human evidence to make a strong recommendation.