Herbs & Botanicals
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
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
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
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.
- Bone K, Morgan M. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic
and Chinese Herbs: Monographs for the Western Herbal Practitioner.
Warwick, Australia: Phytotherapy Press, 1992, 712.
- 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
- Tang W, Eisenbrand G. Chinese Drugs of Plant Origin.
Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1992, 160-74.