Artemisia- An Ancient Medicinal Herb
Traditional Remedy for Fever and Flu
Artemisia is an herb that has had many names over thousands of years of use, including Qinghai 青蒿, sweet wormwood and Artemisia annua. Culturally rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, artemisia was first notated in the Shennong Bencao Jing or The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica. As early as 340 CE, it was used as a traditional medicine to prevent malaria and treat influenza. To add credence to this this traditional use, Chinese scientists identified the active component as artemisinin, also called qinghaosu in the 1970’s. Today this compound is used in anti-malarial medicine worldwide.
Traditional Benefits of Artemisia
Artemisia is an herb with an ancient history in East Asian traditions as a remedy for coughs and colds. Said to have antiviral and antimalarial properties, Artemisia is known by herbalists to disperse pent up Qi (the body’s lifeforce energy) and inner heat caused by intermittent weariness or illness. This plant has a tannin structure, notable polyphenols and aromatic compounds like green tea, but is caffeine-free with detoxifying properties. The plant is high in antioxidants and is considered to have a warming effect, while green tea is known for its cooling effects.
Many of the same antioxidants and aromatic compounds in artemisia are also contained in lemongrass, verbena, wintergreen, and other types of herbs. The components coumarin and quinine are also found in the plant, which are a key ingredient in tonic water and tea cocktails.