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Sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua) is an herb that grows in the east from Pakistan to China. It is an anti-malarial that is also used to combat scabies, candida albicans infections, E. Coli, Salmonella, and other bacterial infections along with parasites including Schistosomas (blood flukes). Research has shown that wormwood can have a significant effect against HPV-induced cancers. 
Artemisinin is one active substance in Artemisia annua that has been identified as an important treatment for malaria as well as cancer. The pharmaceutical industry has tried to isolate and create a synthetic version of artemisinin and use it by itself to treat malaria, but artemisinin is not the only active ingredient in the herb A. annua that has medicinal effects. Patients who are using A. annua to treat cancer should know that this plant likely contains a number of active substances that work together to combat the disease. The method of action is not entirely understood. 
Arteminisin and Iron
Studies on Artemisinin have shown that it is especially active when bound to iron. Luckily, cancer cells consume a lot of iron. When mixed with iron, artemisinin is 34,000 times more potent against cancer cells according to these studies. The iron-artemisinin mix creates free-radicals that are toxic to all cells, but cancer cells are much hungrier for iron than healthy cells, which makes this treatment targeted and effective. Research has shown that the iron-artemisinin complex is highly selective and potent against cancer cells .
Artemisinin is stable in acid, so it passes through the stomach without being destroyed. 
Research in Singapore has shown that artemisinin mixed with Aminolaevulinic Acid can kill colorectal cancer cells without effecting healthy cells . Some experts theorize that more aggressive cancers such as pancreatic cancer and acute leukemia could respond even better to treatment with Artemisinin than other, slow-growing cancers. Aggressive cancers require more iron, which makes it easier to target them with artemisinin and the free-radicals that result from the wormwood-iron mix .
If you’re battling pancreatic cancer or any other type of cancer, also see our post about pancreatic enzymes.
Preparation of Artemisia annua as an Herbal Tea
Boiling water destroys artemisinin, so if you’re drinking Artemisia annua tea, it is best to use hot water between 85-90 degrees Celsius or milk (because of its fat content) to extract the artemisinin from the tea leaves. 
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fresh leaves of the plant was used and they were macerated and then squeezed to obtain the juices in order to get a higher concentration of artemisinin. 
Dry A. annua leaves can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year and they’ll retain the full content of artemisinin intact under these conditions. The artemisinin in the Artemisia annua plant is stored in the glandular trichomes of the dried leaves and flowers along with essential oils. These essential oils naturally prevent fungi from growing there which allows the artemisinin to remain intact for long periods of time. 
In Hanoi, Vietnam, Dr. Hoang reports that out of 400 cancer patients, 50 to 60% achieved long-term remission using artemisinin along with a comprehensive cancer protocol .
Artemisinin can cause spontaneous abortions so this herb is not suitable for women who are pregnant. Patients are advised to use wormwood for no longer than 4 weeks at time. Take short, periodic breaks from the herb to allow the body to rebalance .
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 Lai, H. Sasaki, T., Singh, N. P. (2005). Targeted treatment of cancer with arteminisin and arteminisin tagged iron-carrying compounds. Retrieved June 5, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16185154
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