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Chinese Wormwood

Chinese Wormwood

Botanical Description & Habitat

Artemesia annua


Common Names
sweet wormwood
annual wormwood
qing hao

Throughout China and neighboring Asian countries

Medicinal Part
Leaves and other above ground parts

Historical Properties & Uses

Chinese wormwood is one of numerous artemesia species, yet for the past 2000 years or so, give or take a century, it has been the only one used primarily to treat fevers and infections, especially malaria.

Method of Action

Chinese Wormwood is an Effective Antimalarial
Systematic research on the anti-malarial activity of Chinese wormwood have found an ether extract was particularly effective against Plasmodium berghei in mice and P. inui and P. cynomolgi in monkeys. Though the extract was more effective than quinine, it exhibited zero to little toxicity and was approved for clinical trials.

An initial study using 30 patients was satisfactory. The active constituent was isolated and called artemisine (qinghaosu, in Chinese). More recent clinical studies involving 2099 cases of malaria resulted in a 100% cure rate, with the most dramatic results involving patients with cerebral malaria, a potentially lethal form of malaria. A. annua works by inhibiting an enzyme cytochrome oxidase an enzyme maintaining the malaria parasites' cell membranes. In the absence of this enzyme, the cell membrane dissolves.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

There is evidence combining bactericidal and bacteriostatic agents will lower the effectiveness of the '-static' variety. How this finding applies to herbal antibiotics is not known.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Chinese wormwood is noted for its lack of side effects.

Preparation & Administration

Use three times daily

2-4g of dried herb

Liquid extract
2-4ml of 1:1 in 25% alcohol

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.


Coordinating Research Group on Qinghaosu. Antimalarial studies on qinghaosu. Chinese Medical Journal, 92, 811, 1979.

Journal of Natural Products, 49(1), 139-142, 1986.

Lawrence Review of Natural Products, 6(11), 1985.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.


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