Getting to Know Herbs: Sweet Annie

in #gardening2 years ago (edited)

Sweet Annie is known in traditional medicine for its anti-malarial and antipyretic (prevent or reduce fever) properties. It's used as a support therapy in treating malaria. The aerial parts are harvested at the start of the flowering period to make a medicinal extract.

Photo by @krnel

The scientific name is Artemisia annua, but also known as Absinthe Sauvage, Ajenjo Silvestre, Annual Mugwort, Annual Wormwood, Armoise Amère, Armoise Annuelle, Artémise, Artemisia annua, Artemisia, Artemisinin, Chinese Wormwood, Ching-hao, Herba Artemisiae Annuae, Herbe aux Cent Goûts, Huang Hua Guo, Qing Hao, Qinghaosu, Sourcil de Lune, Sweet Sagewort, Sweet Wormwood

Ton Rulkens/flickr

Kristian Peters/wikimedia

Key Points

  • scientifically proven to combat malaria
  • industrially grown for treatment against malaria
  • native to Asia
  • traditional use for treating fever


Sweet Annie has a long use in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fever.

Where is it found?

Also know as Chinese Wormwood, it's native to temperate Asia but has been naturalized in many countries, including across North America.

This herb is also grown and harvested for it's artemisinin content that is concentrated in the upper part of the plant. Artemisia annua is one of four medicinal plants with the highest Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and high antioxidant activity.

Habitats include woodland borders, low-lying areas along rivers and ponds, fields, vacant lots, edges of yards, fence rows, gardens, back alleys in older cities, and areas along railroads and roadsides.

What's it used for?

The above ground aerial parts (leaves, stems, flowers) are used to make medicine. The most common use if for treating malaria. In laboratory, the naturally containing artemisinin can be transformed into an even more effective treatment for malaria and is sold as a prescription drug in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Artemisinin is effective against the parasites that cause malaria. Sweet Annie shouldn't be used alone to treat malaria, as it only causes the parasites to become inactive, and doesn't kill them. It might make the parasites resistant to further treatment with more powerful malaria drugs that use artemisinin.

Sweet Annie is also used for treating bacterial infections dysentery, tuberculosis, illnesses caused by worms, other parasites, mites, fungal infections, and viral infections such as the common cold. Other uses include upset stomach, fever, yellowed skin (jaundice), psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune disorders, loss of appetite, blood vessel disorders, constipation, gallbladder disorders, stomach pain, painful menstruation, and joint pain (rheumatism). Sometimes applied on the skin to treat bacterial and fungal infections, arthritis and other joint pain, bruises, nerve pain, and sprains.

It also helps people with AIDS prevent a fatal lung infection caused by a fungus called pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP).

Are there any risks?

Taken as a tea it might cause upset stomach, vomiting or an allergic reaction like a rash or cough. Pregnant women should be cautious to take, as it may cause death of the fetus or birth defects when used early in pregnancy. It might be safe for the last 6 months of pregnancy, as the WHO allows drugs made from artemisinin to be used for women in their last six months of pregnancy if no other malaria treatment is available.

This sensitive or allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae family like ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others can have similar issues with Sweet Annie.


Previous posts on Getting to Know Herbs:
Globe Artichoke | Butterfly Weed / Pleurisy Root | Joe-Pye Weed / Gravel Root | Valerian | Malva/Mallow | Boneset | Elecampane | Lungwort | Cramp Bark | Motherwort | Common Plantain | Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng) | Black Cohosh | Common Bearberry | Mahonia Mountain Grape (Oregon Grape) | Blue Cohosh | Goldenseal

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Is it really?

Awesome dude keep up the beneficial research! It’s amazing how there almost is a treatment for every issue of illness that is totally natural and provided by the earth. But it’s sad how this isn’t focused on and money isn’t spent on research instead we have to buy pills and manufactured chemicals to ‘treat’ an illness or issue... well we don’t have to but they got the business sorted out and most find it hard to see another way

yes, most illnesses probably have a plant that can help ;) I think some pharma pills can try to isolate the good part without side effects, but not that it's what happens in most cases ;)

I noticed it is used in some of the cleansers my girlfriend has gotten me to use to kill off parasites in the digestive system.

Good. you might find some around in the bush or in fields too ;)

@krnel I really appreciate your work in educating others about herbs and their medicinal uses. I am very interested in herbalism but theres so much information out there it can be overwhelming. I think you present and organize the information very well.

I'm curious at what sparked your interest in this? You seem to know a lot.

Well I don't really know it until I go read and make a post about it hehe. I went to a herbal medicine garden last month and took a bunch of pictures of all their plants. I will make a post for each plant they have ;)

It is incredible how natural medicine continues to give way to unconventional alternatives because in my country Venezuela there is a similar plant with the same medicinal parameters but as such it bears the name of acetominofen equal to the drug made although this name was later denied by boldo plant and it is natural both in my country as brazil and paraguay attributed healing properties for the treatment of the gallbladder and liver diseases in addition to mild fever

I can't find a link to a plant named acetominofen ...

The plant looks strikingly familiar.

Nice research, though. The medicinal value of herbs is more than has been ever known. Good thing is, their side effects are slow and easily controllable.

Nice work.

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Yeah, some have more benefits, and other have more side effects ;) Be careful and all should be ok if in a jam and nature can provide in many cases.

Nature, sort of, always provides. There's always a solution in nature, the question is have you the knowledge thereof?

I always learn so much from you @krnel about all these amazing plants. Thank you so much for sharing about these amazing plants/herbs which I love to learn about and use it as natural plant-based medicine or just in daily life.

You're welcome. Glad the info is of value.

I think I have seen this plant before. And such a wonderful benefit in healing malaria from such a small plant. Thanks @krnel.

Yeah, probably, it's pretty common. It grows in the collective garden I'm in too.

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