Artemisia annua: Sweet Wormwood Benefits
Sweet wormwood is a plant with small yellow flowers. It is also known as sweet sagewort, sweet annie, annual wormwood or annual mugwort. This plant is truly intriguing. A lot of studies are confirming sweet wormwood benefits, and the positive medicinal effects keep on coming.
The list of sweet wormwood benefits is substantial. It can be used to treat:
- Bacterial infections such as dysentery and tuberculosis,
- Gallbladder disorders,
- Joint pain,
- Common cold,
- Night sweats,
- A lack of appetite,
- Stomach aches,
- Blood vessel disorders,
- Stomach pain,
- Painful menstruation,
- Eliminating intestinal worms, especially pinworms and roundworms.
All of this is thanks to its high content of its key ingredient artemisinin.
Artemisinin is an extract isolated from the plant sweet wormwood or Artemisia annua. It has antiviral and antifungal properties. As a result, it might treat a variety of conditions, such as:
- Other viral infections
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- AIDS-related infections
Sweet Wormwood Benefits
Malaria is a serious disease. It is caused by a parasite that infected mosquitoes transmit with their bite and invades human red blood cells. Artemisinin is an herbal drug that is the most powerful antimalarial available today. It quickly reduces the number of parasites in the blood of the infected patients. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends therapies based on artemisinin as first-line treatment for malaria.
Recent researches show that artemisinin is effective against the malaria parasite because it reacts with the high levels of iron in the parasite to produce free radicals. Then the free radicals destroy the cell walls of the malaria parasite.
According to recent studies, artemisinin can kill breast cancer cells that are iron-enriched similar to the way it kills malaria-causing parasites. This makes it a potential option for natural cancer treatment in women with breast cancer. Cancer cells commonly soak up iron since they need it to facilitate cell division.
In one study, researchers tested samples of normal breast cells and breast cancer cells that first had been treated to maximize their iron content. Then the cells were then treated with an extract of wormwood, a water-soluble form of artemisinin.
Results were quite impressive. Almost all of the cancer cells were killed within 16 hours, and only a few normal cells were dead. Bioengineer Henry Lai believes that this is because a breast cancer cell contains 5-15 receptors more than normal, it absorbs more iron and therefore it is more susceptible to artemisinin’s attack.
According to research published in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, artemisinin may be helpful in the treatment of:
Colon cancer, and
It may also treat colorectal cancer and slow the growth of ovarian cancer cells.
Artemisinin is generally considered safe and it causes fewer side effects than many other cancer treatments.
Amongst numerous sweet wormwood benefits, its anti-allergic properties have made it a compelling medicine in the treatment of allergic asthma. Artesunate is its semi-derivative and it prevents the degranulation of the mast cells induced by (IgE)- Immunoglobulin E.
Sweet Wormwood sometimes is applied directly to the skin in a form of a paste made of leaves and water. This way it can treat following conditions
- Skin infections
- Joint pain (arthritis)
- Nerve pain
How to Use Sweet Wormwood
Sweet wormwood is commercially available online and at health stores in form of an essential oil, liquid extract, tinctures, capsules, and tablets. It can also be used in a dry or fresh form to make a tea or infusion.
- 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh wormwood steep in one cup of boiling water for 5-15 minutes.
- For best effect, drink it unsweetened.