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Herbs & Botanicals

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Sweet annie (qing hao)

What is sweet annie?

A rather nondescript herb, sweet annie has a variety of alternate names, including qing hao and sweet wormwood. The herb originated in Europe and Asia before eventually making its way to the United States. Unlike most plants, the above-ground components of sweet annie, such as the stems and leaves, are used in herbal remedies.

Why do we need sweet annie? What is it used for?

Ancient medical texts suggest that sweet annie was first used to treat hemorrhoids. Other writings mention sweet annie as a treatment for fevers, while traditional Chinese medical texts have hailed it for treating a variety of infections.

A compound called arteminisin is believed to contain anti-malarial properties. Numerous randomized clinical trials have shown that arteminisin injections can cure people with malaria. Test-tube studies suggest arteminisin can kill other parasites and bacteria, lending credence to the long-held belief that it can fight gastrointestinal infections and pathogens; however, sweet annie should not be used a substitute for arteminisin in treating malaria.

How much sweet annie should I take?

Traditionally, many herbal practitioners recommend three grams of powdered sweet annie a day.

What forms of sweet annie are available?

Sweet annie is available in powder, 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 patients taking sweet annie. However, people who take arteminisin as a prescription drug may experience a variety of side-effects, including upset stomach, loose stools, abdominal pain, and occasional fever. Make sure to consult with a qualified health care practitioner before taking sweet annie or any other herbal product or dietary supplement.

References

  • 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, et al. Possible modes of action of the arteminisin-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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