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Should Artemisia annua (wormwood) tea be used as a prophylactic in endemic countries?

31% (51 votes)
69% (115 votes)
Total votes: 166


Submitted by Guest (not verified) on
My answer is 'No' because unjustified use of this drug in endemic countries is not appropriate as this may account for increasing resistance and the drug may not stay effective for future use. Further, inadequate amount of drug, as will be there when it will used as tea formulation, is one of the major reasons behind the phenomenon of drug resistance.

Bart G.J. Knols's picture
Submitted by Bart G.J. Knols on
Dear Guest, please log in and vote. Leaving a comment is fine, but please also vote. Thanks, Bart

Submitted by Pierre Lutgen (not verified) on
The risk of inadequate amounts of drug resides elsewhere: - almost 50 % of the ACTs sold in Africa are fakes - ACTs have a very short shelf life in tropical climate. The dried artemisia herb however more than 3 years - According to OXFAM most of the ACTs are sold in groceries and are used without medical control at substandard doses. But overdosis with ACTs may also lead to dormancy of the parasite and consequently to resistance and recrudescence.

Submitted by Madou Diallo (not verified) on
It was time that you opened the discussion on the relative merits or deficiencies of ACTs versus artemisia annua tea in your Journal. We here in Senegal use powdered leaves of artemisia annua in peanut butter to administer it to children suffering from malaria. The curing rate is >95%, We wonder if peanut butter plays a role of synergy in therapy and prophylaxy in addition to the obvious effects that it renders the bitter herb palatable to children

Submitted by Jane Bitmingham (not verified) on
Poppycock to the Guest who claims use of the tea will create resistance and will lead to short supplies. Parsley grows in anyone's back garden. Artemisia annua can do the same. A resistance to synthetic artemisia analogues has already happened and the increased dosage of these synthetic drugs, resorted to in response, is causing other life threatening complications in patients. For what purpose? To make more money for the patent holder? Your argument does not stack up with any sensible reader. Grow the tea, it's a more humane solution.

Submitted by DustyOzzy (not verified) on
I totally agree with you, anyone can grow this, I planted it not knowing what it was, it never got watered and survived through -3c to 47c. I live in a very hot part of Western Australia and have done very little to help this plant along, it is vibrant and growing beautifully. Now that I know what it is I drink it daily and bathe my ponies cancerous eye in it daily. My pony is 28 years and the vet said I have no other option than to put her down because her tumour was quite nasty. I started to bathe her eye with a Artimisinin tea I brew, one day it bled a lot of muck/blood, since then it seems to be getting smaller and she comes to me and rubs her eye into it knowing its doing her good. I couldn't handle the taste/smell at first but now it just smells like disinfectant to me:)

Submitted by jean-Jacques Schul (not verified) on
Evidence from the field is unanimously in favour of this approach. No resistance has been observed so far. Furthermore, cheap, hence accessible to all, Artemisia annua is also a repellent against mosquitoes. No counterfeits because produced locally? It is difficult to see why anyone would be against it, unless he is motivated by pharmaceutical companies' greed.

Submitted by Henk Goris (not verified) on
Use of the tea should not be recommended when other preparations are availble. But what to do when there is nothing else available? The development of resistance by use of herbal extracts is overestimated. Artemisia tea as an herbal extract was used for almost 2000 years in China and no resistance was reported. Large scale introduction of the purified substance, i.e. artemisinin, or derivatives demonstrated already resistance after some decates. Therefore, it is very likely that the role of synergistic components in herbal extracts,which might circumvent resistance, is underestimated.

Submitted by Marc Wagner (not verified) on
whether in tea, pills or capsules, the whole artemisia annua plant prevents and heals, is cheap, shows no resistance or side effets, is durable, easily available and makes independant from pharma industry. It has multiple active substances and thus makes of artemisia annua a polytherapy. In contrast to chemical derivates and extracts of artemisia annua, which are perishable, show resistance, have side effects. These are helping commerce, not the sick.

Submitted by Michel ONIMUS (not verified) on
During a recent session of orthopedic surgery on children in Central African Republic, we used capsules of artemisia annua for prevention of malaria during the surgical period, with a 65% decrease of the parasitemia in 25 evaluated patients. We used also the capsules in 5 cases of malaria attack (among whom our anesthesiologist) with wonderful immediate results and in two cases decrease of the parasitemia from 1500 to 180 and from 8400 to 80 after 48 hours. The use of artemisia annua powder is apparently more effective than the tea and can be preferred if permitted by the local conditions, but the tea preparation is still the easier and the less expensive method for prevention and treatment of malaria.

Submitted by Pedro Cravo on
Artemisinin can never be used as a prohylactic regardless of its formulation. We know that it is extremely rapidly eliminated, so it really doesn´t matter if you take it as a tea or in a pill. Artemisinin just doesn´t fulfill the PK criteria for prophylaxis. The question should have been "Should Artemisia annua (wormwood) tea be used as a TREATMENT in endemic countries?", in which case I would still answer "No".

Submitted by Pierre Lutgen on
We never claimed that artemisinin should be used as prophylactic and agree with you on this poin. In fact this molecule is immunodepressive, hepatotoxic, cardiotoxic, embryotoxic, genotoxic, spleenotoxic, hemoloytic and has strong effects on male fertility. We claim that artemisia annua tea or capsules may be effective against malaria because it is a polytherapy with dozens of active molecules. Even if the herbal powder used contains no artemisinin it is prophylactic, as documented in several well documented clinical trials or field experiences. Available on request.

Submitted by Pedro Cravo on
Dear Pierre, As far as I know artemisinins (ARTs) are safe for humans. Meta-analysis has demostrated this. ARTs have been shown to display toxicity in animals, but there are several important differences accounting for this. Also, I am not aware of the field trials showing that herbal powder with or without artemisinin is prophylactic. Could you send me those references?

Submitted by Antoniana U. Krettli (not verified) on
No, the artemisia herbal tea should not be used in the prophylaxis of malaria because the low dose of the chemical in it would probably help to select the naturaly resitant P. falciparum parasites.There was an interesting project supported by the Brazilian government in which tea bags would be provided in the Amazon, and it was interrupted for this reason.

Submitted by K (not verified) on
My answer is yes!! Most people that believe it should be used to eradicate Malaria will not sign in to vote. They are intelligent people that know how the world works. They will not speak openly about anything that will cut profits of powerful Pharmaceutical company’s. My father, with over 100 other people, were put in a tent to die of malaria, he & another man crawled out they were the only 2 to survive. Now it is believed that systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease that killed him, often starts with parasitic borne infectious disease as this. The only reason anyone would want to keep people sick and dying is for their own greed.

Submitted by Richard (not verified) on
I have been told to try some sort of tea or preperation, with arthritis RA and osteo and fibromyalgia, but if taking regular would it do damage..but which is teh best way to take and what type of formulation,

Pierre Bush's picture
Submitted by Pierre Bush on
This is a good plant that was used by the Chinese people to treat malaria since time immemorial. It was discovered that it can be compounded into tablets and injectables in the 70s. There is no evidence that its use as tea can create resistance to ACTS. On the the contrary, there is actually evidence that its use is beneficial, not only used for self medication as traditional plant for the treatment of malaria, but also for prevention. Some one stated that it is a mosquitoe repellent and that is correct. (Read my dissertation: traditional herbal medicines and the outcomes of severe malaria in the Kalomo District, Zambia: there is a large & good section on Artemisia anua. Thank you

Dr. Pierre Bush, PhD

Wijnberg John's picture
Submitted by Wijnberg John on
Yes for high risk groups this could be a very useful and practical means of reducing severe malaria cases and deaths, at the same time as avoiding inferior quality and fake drugs which are constantly finding their way into the market.