Most herbs are seen as nonsense by the scientific community. Medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie or Sweet Wormwood (Artemisia Annua) are so significant that they simply can’t ignore them. This powerful herb has literally saved millions of lives and will continue doing so. It can treat so many conditions, ranging from cancer to malaria and even Covid-19!
Many people grow sweet Annie because of its smell. Its oil has been used to give aroma to perfumes or homes. Cut branches have thousands of small yellow flowers which are used for flower arrangements (both live and dried) and wreaths. This variety of artemisia is used to make vermouth, just like wormwood. China uses the plant in winemaking process.
Medicinal Properties of Sweet Annie
Artemisinin, a chemical component found in this herb, is what makes this plant so special. Prescription drugs are created from this extract. Medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie are extracted from the aerial parts (everything above ground) of this plant. Leaves and stems are dried and powdered to form colorless crystals from which the artemisinin extract is taken. Seeds are used as a remedy for indigestion and excess gas.
Other active components include arteannuin-b, artemetin, deoxyartemisinin, friedelan-3 beta-ol, friedelin, quercetagetin and stigma sterol. All of these create the medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie which include antioxidant properties. It is also anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-malarial. Essential oil from sweet Annie includes artemisia ketone, beta-caryophyllene, beta-selinene, camphor, germacrene D and trans-pinocarveol.
Chinese medicine has been using this herb since at least 168 BC. They call it Quing Has, which means “from the green herb”. It was used in combination with other herbs to treat skin problems, fevers and even reproductive conditions. For a while it was forgotten until the medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie were rediscovered during the Chinese “Cultural Revolution” in the 1970s.
Scientific research was not permitted during these times, so the Chinese government launched a secret operation to help the government of Vietnam which needed to find a treatment for malaria. Profesor Tu Youyou lead the team that discovered that a plant called Artemisia annua could inhibit malaria parasites. She learned how to extract the arteimisinin crystal from texts written by Ge Hong some 1700 years before. In 2015 she won the Nobel price in medicine for her discovery .
Medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie can also be applied topically as a poultice to treat abscesses, nose bleeds and a plethora of skin conditions. It is effective in treating tropical diseases including African-sleeping sickness caused by an infected tsetse fly or Onchocerciasis, river blindness disease, caused by an infected black fly. Medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie are so wide that they range from preventing aging to supporting the immune system.
Medicinal Benefits of Sweet Annie
AIDS patients can take advantage the medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie since this herb slows down a fatal infection called pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) that is caused by a fungus. Immune-compromised individuals, such as those with AIDS, can be affected by the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) which causes congenital infections that lead to hearing loss and developmental problems. Sweet Annie has shown be able to inhibit this virus.
One of the medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie is its anti-allergenic properties. Artesunate, a semi-derivative of this plant, can potentially prevent the degranulation of mast cells induced by Immunoglobulin E.
Artemisia Annua helps treat constipation since it stimulates the intestine, so it produces peristaltic movements. It also has purging effects which insert bile discharge from internal liver and gallbladder to the intestine, thus helping the passage of stool. It works better in cases of chronic constipation, specially those that have mucus discharge.
Hepatitis and Jaundice
Medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie include the treatment of jaundice and hepatitis, being a helpful liver tonic. It can trigger bile secretion which cleans the liver and expels the waste of the body. A study published in the Clinical Infectious Disease Journal in 2008 shows how this herb inhibits certain viruses such as members of the Herpesviridae family including herpes simplex virus type 1, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and Epstein-Barr virus.
Menstruation Cramps and Pain
Sweet Annie is an antispasmodic, so it helps relieve abdominal pain and cramps. Medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie have been used since ancient times to treat painful periods. This herb improves the flow of menstruation, which reduces the pain.
Skin Uses and Anti Aging
This herb is anti-inflammatory, so it relieves purpuric rashes which are caused because of inflammation and blood vessels bleeding under the skin. It can also treat nose bleeding.
Make a poultice of Sweet Annie to apply externally to heal bruises, stop itching, bacterial infections, sprains, arthritis, joint pain and nerve pain. It also helps with swollen limbs which are caused by gout and rheumatism.
Medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie include anti aging properties, which is why its essential oil is being included in many beauty products. Perfumes also contain this herb since it has such a pleasant aroma, that is also used in aromatherapy to calm patients.
Recent studies have shown the medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie in the fight against cancer. This herb help stop the proliferation of cancer cells. Iron is necessary for the DNA replication of cancer cells, which have higher contents of iron than healthy cells. Artemisinin interacts with iron found in the blood and induces apoptosis of cancer cells. At the same time, this component leaves healthy cells intact. This is considered one of the safest types of cancer treatments.
Investigations are still being conductive, but it has shown to be effective against breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer, along with bicalutamide. Its tea can help people with leukemia, as it is a powerful antioxidant which causes cytotoxicity towards leukemia cells.
Malaria is caused by a parasite found in flies that infects humans. As of now it is the most powerful medication against this disease. Pharmaceutical use of sweet Annie isolates the artemisinin compound and modifies it in the laboratory.
Malaria parasites are quite tolerant and resistant. There is some concern of developing recurrent symptoms if other traditional quinine treatments have been used before. The amount of artemisinin found in Sweet Annie may be too little to kill all the parasites, but large enough to make it resistant to further treatment with pharmaceutical drugs that contain artemisinin and coartem.
Some are of the opinion that the medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie should not be used alone for malaria since it may only inactivate or decrease the number of active parasites. Artemisinin combination therapies are recommended to prevent single ingredient resistance.
People drink Sweet Annie tea for 4 to 7 days to improve the symptoms. For some, this may be enough. Tea should not be boiled, because the heat will destroy the chemical that fights malaria. Instead steep in in hot water.
A study done by several researches concluded that the extracts of Artemisia annua were effective against the virus Covid-19. Plant extracts were more potent against the virus that artemisinin alone. Medicinal benefits of sweet Annie do not block the virus from entering the cells, but it does stop it from replicating, which ends up killing it. This herb is also efficient at treating two new variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa. The good news is that this natural alternative could be a low cost treatment for the pandemic virus.
Artemisinin and the rest of the derivatives of the artemisia annua variety are strong anthelmintics, which mean they can expel worms such as threadworms and ringworms. It is anti parasitic so it can be used to treat the parasitic worm onchocerca volvulus.
This zoonotic disease is found in 98 tropical countries. It is caused by the bite of a mosquito, which interferes with the immune response of the pet and reprograms the cellular microenvironment. Canine Leishmaniasis can affect the vital organs of your dog, including the liver and kidney, even causing its death. Commercial pharmaceutical drugs have many side effects and are expensive. Artemisia annua is an effective treatment since it can cause oxidative stress on the parasites, leading to their death.
Precautions of Using Sweet Annie
Sweet Annie and almost all the Artemisia family have toxic properties. It is recommended to consult with a specialist and follow the prescribed dosage when using medicinal benefits of sweet Annie. Prolonged used of this herb must be avoided. More is not better with this herb. Possible side effects can include loss of appetite, dermatitis, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and stomach pain.
Those on prescription drugs should consult with their doctor before taking advantage of the medicinal benefits of Sweet Annie. Anti-seizure drugs are specially problematic since this herb could cause seizures. It can also interfere with anti-diabetic drugs, leading to hypoglycemia. So make sure to check your blood glucose level regularly and adjust dosage accordingly. Artemisia annua also causes excess citric acid, so it should not be used by people with ulcers or gastrointestinal problems.
The pollen of Sweet Annie and other varieties of artemisia can cause allergic reactions, including hay fever. It can provoke allergies to those who are sensitive to the Compositae or Asteraceae family which include daisies, marigolds, ragweed and chrysanthemums.
Pregnant women, breast-feeding and diabetics should be cautious about using this herb. Studies have shown that it causes birth defects or even the death of the fetus during the first trimester. There is no information about the second and third. However, it should only be used if no other treatment for malaria is available.