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Sweet annie (qing hao)

What is sweet annie? What is it used for?

An inconspicuous, nondescript herb, sweet annie has a variety of alternate names, including qing hao and sweet wormwood. The herb originated in Europe and Asia and has seen made the transfer to Northern America. The above-ground components of the herb, such as the stems and leaves, are used in herbal remedies.

Medical texts that are more than 2,000 years old suggest that sweet annie was used to treat hemorrhoids. Other writings mention sweet annie as a treatment for fevers.

A compound found in sweet annie, artemisinin, is believed to contain anti-malarial properties. Numerous randomized clinical trials have shown that artemisinin injections can cure people with malaria. Test tube studies suggest artemisinin can kill other parasites and bacteria, lending credence to the belief that it can fight gastrointestinal infections and parasites.

How much sweet annie should I take?

Many herbal practitioners recommend three grams of sweet annie powder a day. However, sweet annie cannot be substituted for artemisinin.

What forms of sweet annie are available?

Sweet annie is available as a powder, as well as in capsule and tablet forms.

What can happen if I take too much sweet annie? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

No adverse effects or serious drug interactions have been reported in people taking sweet annie. However, patients who take artemisinin as a prescription drug may experience a variety of side-effects, including upset stomach, loose stools, abdominal pain, and occasional fever.

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  • Bone K, Morgan M. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs: Monographs for the Western Herbal Practitioner. Warwick, Australia: Phytotherapy Press, 1992, 7—12.
  • Foster S, Yue CX. Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1992, 322.
  • Hien TT, White NJ. Qinghaosu. Lancet 1993;341:603—8.
  • Olliaro PL, Haynes RK, Meunier B, Yuthavong Y. Possible modes of action of the artemisinin-type compounds. Trends Parasitol Mar 2001;17(3):122-6.
  • Tang W, Eisenbrand G. Chinese Drugs of Plant Origin. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1992, 160—74.


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