Herb Reference Guide

Sweet Wormwood

History

Sweet Annie, Sweet Wormwood, and Annual Wormwood are all common names for this summer annual herb native to Asia, most probably China. It occurs naturally in the northern parts of Chahar and Suiyuan provinces in China, at higher altitudes starting at 3,000 feet above sea level. Sweet Annie is now naturalized in many countries including the United States and is under cultivation for various commercial uses in many countries. She has a fern like leaf and is aromatically fragrant with sweet camphor notes especially strong on a warm summer day in the meadow. Cultivation and commercialization of this plant are largely due to the presence of an active chemical found in the plant called artemesinin. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the plant is referred to as Qing Hao and has been used for over 2,000 years to normalize digestive complaints. The whole herb in extracted or tea form is consumed in many countries for "digestive health" especially where sanitary conditions and insect borne infections are present.

Function

The isolated chemical Artemesinin drives much of the clinical research on this plant. Artemesinin (not Wormwood annua), is produced as a pharmaceutical agent and used to treat malaria. There is scholarly discussion amongst herbalists and practitioners regarding the “silver bullet” approach of isolated Artemsinin versus the whole herb preparations used in traditional practice. For more information and wonderful insights on this topic see the works of Kevin Spelman, Ph.D.

Uses of Sweet Wormwood

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Essential oils (camphor, menthol, 1,8-cineole), Artemisinin

Parts Used

  • Herb

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Ferreira, J.F.S., Simon, J.E., Janick, J., 1997. Artemisia annua: botany, horticulture, pharmacology (A Review). Horticultural Reviews 19:319-371.

Rath K, Taxis K, Walz G, Gleiter CH, Li S-M, Heide L. Parmacokinetics study of artemsinin after oral intake of a traditional preparation of Artemisia annua L. (annual wormwood). Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2004;70(2):128-132.