DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
Artemisinin, the primary ingredient in anti-malarial drugs, is derived from the herb sweet wormwood, botanically known as Artemisia annua. There has been a growing interest in artemisinin benefits beyond its globally popular antimalarial effects.
Apart from its clinical efficacy against all forms of malaria that invade the human body, especially Plasmodium falciparum, artemisinin shows a wide range of other pharmacological activities such as antifungal, antibacterial, and cytotoxicity against cancer cells.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most prevalent artemisinin benefits that are backed by scientific research and can hugely serve mankind. But before we get started with the benefits of artemisinin on humans, it’s important to know exactly what artemisinin is and what medicinal properties it has. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is artemisinin?
- Artemisinin medicinal properties
- Artemisinin benefits
- How to use artemisinin
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is artemisinin?
Artemisinin, also known as Qing Hao in the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), originated from the extract of a plant called sweet wormwood, botanically known as Artemisia annua. It is derived from the dried flower clusters and leaves of the Artemisia annua plant through distillation.
The Artemisia plant was first recognized as an antipyretic (fever-reducing) herb by Chinese physicians dated back to the 4th century CE and was used as a herbal remedy in the form of teas. Gradually the use of qing hao teas spread to other areas as a common natural remedy for malaria and hemorrhoids.
In the 1970s, the active compound artemisinin was first isolated from the Artemisia plant. Since then this compound has widely been used in the prevention and treatment of malaria and is known as the world’s most effective antimalarial agent.
Moreover, artemisinin has been found to have many other medicinal properties including antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, antitumor, as well as others.
Today, there are a variety of artemisinin derivatives available for the treatment of malaria and various other infectious and inflammatory health issues.
Artemisinin medicinal properties
Artemisinin and its derivatives are among the most effective antimalarial drugs and are widely used as the first-line strategy for the treatment and prevention of malaria throughout the world. Additionally, recent studies reveal that apart from potent antimalarial functions, artemisinin possesses several medicinal properties.
In essence, scientists across the world are still exploring the miraculous bioactivities of this potent therapeutic agent and its derivatives. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and immunoregulatory are some of the medicinal properties that have been found to be present in artemisinin and its derivative noticeably. Let’s explore what benefits artemisinin can produce for mankind with the help of these medicinal properties.
Artemisinin is well-established for the prevention and treatment of all forms of malaria ranging from mild, easily manageable to severe drug-resistant strains. Its antimalarial activities have been extensively reviewed and supported by multiple studies.
For instance, A 1999 review published in the Trends in Pharmacological Sciences showed that artemisinin and its active derivatives such as arteether, artemether, and artesunate are effective in the treatment of malaria and are widely used in the countries of Southeast Asia and Africa.
Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases that is majorly characterized by inflammation. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, stiffness, and fever. Artemisinin shows tremendous anti-inflammatory and antipyretic actions that can reduce pain, fever, and swelling in the body parts affected by the disease such as knee joints and hip joints.
Besides, with its incredible immunoregulatory effects, it can prevent and treat inflammation factors, synovial injury, and associated symptoms of autoimmune arthritis too.
A 2016 randomized control trial (RCT) published in Clinical Rheumatology found that supplementing with 150 mg to 300 mg of Artemisia annua extract twice daily for 12 weeks significantly improved stiffness, pain, and functional limitations of the knee and hip joints in people with osteoarthritis.
Allergies are the hypersensitivity reactions of the immune system. Artemisinin and its derivatives demonstrate significant immunomodulatory actions and can help treat and manage allergic diseases.
A 2015 review published in the Mediators of Inflammation concluded that the immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory functions of artemisinin and its derivatives have the ability to produce therapeutic effects against allergic diseases.
How to use artemisinin
Dosages of artemisinin may vary depending on various factors such as reasons for consumtion, current health conditions, and the active compounds present in the supplements. However, most common dosages range from 100 mg to 400 mg per day that can be taken into two to three divided doses as well. Always consider asking your healthcare provider before using artemisinin supplements.
Precautions and side effects
Though artemisinin has been found generally safe in recommended dosages, some people may experience side effects such as dizziness, hearing issues, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Besides, artemisinin may interact with other medications and produce some adverse reactions. Patients with gastrointestinal disorders or ulcers should avoid artemisinin supplements. It’s highly recommended to consult with a licensed naturopathic doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting artemisinin supplements for any reason.
Artemisinin is globally known for its antimalarial functions, but this miraculous ingredient has many other medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunoregulatory to name a few. Treating malaria, arthritis, and allergies are some of the most common artemisinin benefits that are proven by scientific studies.
Artemisinin may produce some side effects and may interact with other medications. So, it’s strongly recommended to consult with a licensed natural medicine practitioner prior to using artemisinin supplements.
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