Artemisinin / Sweet Wormwood / Artemisia Annua

Dr. Len Saputo calls artemisinin a “cancer smart bomb” -

This magical herb is one of those cures that goes unspoken of in the medical community, and it can kill up to 98% of cancer cells in just 16 hours.

Namely, according to a series of studies published in “Life Science”, artemisinin, a “Sweet wormwood” or “Artemisia Annua” derivative, was used in Chinese medicine and it can kill 98% of lung cancer cells in less than 16 hours.

The herb used by itself reduces lung cancer cells up to 28%, but in combination with iron, “Artemisia Annua” successfully and completely “erases” cancer, and in the experiment this herb had no impact on healthy lung cells.

Artemisinin in past was used as a powerful antimalarial remedy, but now it is proven that this cure is also effective in the fight against cancer.

When scientists added iron while conducting the study, which later attached to lung tissue, especially to cancer infected cells, artemisinine selectively attacked “bad” cells, and left “good” cells untouched.

“In general, our results show that artemisinin stops ‘E2F1′ transcription factor and intervenes in destruction of lung cancer cells, meaning it presents a transcription way according to which artemisinin controls reproductive cancer cell growth”, was stated in the conclusion of the research conducted in the cancer laboratory at the University of California.

The Journal of Life Science reported on a study out of the University of Washington, conducted by Drs Narenda Singh and Henry Lai. So far, this is the most extensive study done in the US on artemisinin.

The study was conducted in a laboratory in tissue samples (in vitro) as opposed to a study on animals or humans (in vivo). Using a radiation resistant variety of breast cancer cells (that also had a high propensity for accumulating iron) artemisinin proved itself to have a 75% cancer kill rate after just 8 hours; and almost a 100% kill rate in just 24 hours.

Iron deposits in cancer cells with special receptors which help in cell division. Normal cells also have these receptors, but cancer cells have them in larger amounts and according to this, cancer cells can be a target combination of iron and artemisinin.

There have been numerous experiments conducted so far and they all prove that in combination with iron, artemisinin can effectively destroy cancer, and this extract was used in China for thousands of years, as a cure for malaria.

Malaria parasite can not survive in the presence of artemisinine, because it is rich in iron, and bio-engineers Henry Lai and Narendra Singh from the University of Washington were the first scientists to discover this.

The original peer reviewed journal article can be found here, where the scientists conclude “ artemisinin and artemisinin-tagged iron-carrying compounds could be developed into powerful anticancer drugs”.



It is no longer amazing to discover something by accident. Scientists do some of their best work in the dark, by suddenly stumbling over something, only to find in the cold light of day, that what they stumbled upon, was an amazing discovery (like penicillin, perhaps).

The wormwood plant has been around for years. It is an annual that grows practically everywhere, but way back in history, it had uses that somehow were forgotten.

In 1970, archeologists rediscovered the phytochemical (plant chemical) Artemisinin inside a tomb dating back to 168 BC, for stored near the deceased were medicines and text explaining the preparation and use of these medicine.

Artemisinin was used primarily in the treatment of malaria, though it had been used to fight parasites and since it has some anti-inflammatory properties, it was used for hemorrhoids.

Artemisinin reacts with a high concentration of iron (ferrous compounds), something found in high concentrations in the malaria parasite. When artemisinin meets up with this high iron concentration, a chemical reaction occurs creating free radicals that attack cell membranes, breaking them apart and killing them.

It is artemisinin’s affinity for iron that places it in the spotlight for a brand new weapon against cancer.

Here is a little biochemistry for you: Iron is required for cell division. What is it cancer cells do more than healthy cells? They divide at a very high rate. So, in order to divide at this high rate, cancer cells have to accumulate high concentrations of iron. In fact, the surface of cancer cells have many more iron attracting receptors than on the surface of a normal, healthy cell. Do you see where this is leading?

The Journal of Life Science (70 (2001): 49-56) reported on a study out of the University of Washington, conducted by Drs Narenda Singh and Henry Lai. So far, this is the most extensive study done in the US on artemisinin.

The study was conducted in a laboratory in tissue samples (in vitro) as opposed to a study on animals or humans (in vivo). Using a radiation resistant variety of Breast Cancer cells (that also had a high propensity for accumulating iron) artemisinin proved itself to have a 75% cancer kill rate after just 8 hours; and almost a 100% kill rate in just 24 hours.

Anticancer properties of artemisinin derivatives and their targeted delivery by transferrin conjugation:

Ikuhiko Nakasea, c, Henry Laib, Narendra P. Singhb, Tomikazu Sasakia

'Artemisinin and its derivatives are well known antimalaria drugs and particularly useful for the treatment of infection of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites resistant to traditional antimalarials. Artemisinin has an endoperoxide bridge that is activated by intraparasitic heme-iron to form free radicals, which kill malaria parasites by alkylating biomolecules. In recent years, there are many reports of anticancer activities of artemisinins both in vitro and in vivo. Artemisinins have inhibitory effects on cancer cell growth, including many drug- and radiation-resistant cancer cell lines. The cytotoxic effect of artemisinin is specific to cancer cells because most cancer cells express a high concentration of transferrin receptors on cell surface and have higher iron ion influx than normal cells via transferrin mechanism. In addition, some artemisinin analogs have been shown to have antiangiogenesis activity. Artemisinin tagged to transferrin via carbohydrate chain has also been shown to have high potency and specificity against cancer cells. The conjugation enables targeted delivery of artemisinin into cancer cells.' (International Journal of Pharmaceutics, vol 354, 16 Apr 2008, pg 28-33)

According to Dr Lam, MD (

Artemisinin is effective against a wide variety of cancers as shown in a series of successful experiments. The most effective is leukemia and colon cancer. Intermediate activities were also shown against melanoma, breast, ovarian, prostate, CNS and renal cancer. Although artemisinin is insoluble in water, it is able to cross the blood brain barrier (the water soluble artesunate is the weakness among the derivates) and may be particularly suitable for curing brain tumors, together with Poly-MVA.

According to Dr Rowen, MD in his newsletter Second Opinion, a family of physicians in Vietnam had used artemisinin to treat cancer for years. For over 400 patients treated in the past ten years, using dietary and lifestyle changes and artemisinin, they realized a 50 to 60 percent long-term remission rate. Artemisinin has proven itself to be nontoxic at the required dosage level for long periods of time; and that no significant toxicity in short-term use for malaria at high dose of up to 70 mg/kg per day has been reported either.

Now the weird thing about this herb, the wormwood, is that you can find the plant growing wild, pick it, take it to an herbalist, and it might have no artemisinin in it: not all wormwood plants contain artemisinin. So there’s no use buying the herb bulk.

When the wormwood herb contains artemisinin, it is in one of three forms (some naturopaths use all three, others a combination of two):

A water soluble form called artesunate which is the least toxic and most active, yet has the shortest life in the body (being water soluble it passes through),
Artemether is a lipid (or fat) soluble form with the longest life in the body, but also the most toxic form when used in high doses (which are seldom needed). Artemether can cross the blood brain barrier.
Artemisinin is the active compound of the plant. It too can cross the blood brain barrier and is very safe.
Because of artemisinin’s activity, because it attacks using free radicals to destroy the cell walls of cells carrying iron, we need a good antioxidant to help clean up this mess. Many recommend megadoses of vitamin C daily. However, using this in conjunction with Poly-MVA contraindicates the use of vitamin C in large doses. However, this doesn’t mean that hydrogen peroxide therapy, ozone therapy, or any of the oxygenation therapies cannot be used with artemisinin to help create an environment in which cancer cells cannot live and begin to self destruct. In fact, many other therapies are suggested when using artemisinin.


High doses are neurotoxic. (Bad for the brain.) People experience trouble walking, problems with nerve and the spinal column and pain response, respiration slows, gets depressed, and cardiac arrest in large animals has been witnessed, but under very high doses.

In humans, so far only one person has had a serious side effect, which was referred to as a "first-degree heart block." It is assumed that doses up to 20,000mg per 70kg male is a safe dosage, although long-term toxicity is not known at this time.

Do not take artemisinin or any derivates within 20 days of radiation therapy. Radiation spreads iron (leaks) to surrounding tissues.
If iron levels are low, supplementing iron for a few days prior to starting this treatment is recommended.
Laboratory tests should be used to monitor the progress of this therapy: Complete Blood Count, reticulocyte count (will drop initially but comes back after a few weeks), liver function, ferritin levels, Total Iron Binding Capacity, Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, C reactive protein, and appropriate tumor markers. Tumor markers might increase during the initial stages of tumor breakdown.
Therapeutic levels (dosages) for those with active cancers can be 1,000 mgs per day, divided into 4 parts), while some physicians recommend 1,600mg per day based upon a 100 pound female. It is a "cooling" herb according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. If you find yourself tingling (too cool) you might want to drop the dosage a bit.

Artemisinin should be taken with food. Using an essential fatty acid (flax oil, cod liver oil, lecithin, wheat germ oil) will help absorption.

Artemisinin is not considered a "stand-alone" cancer cure, but part of an overall, aggressive, anti-cancer program. High doses of pancreatic enzymes (on an empty stomach), CoQ10 supplementation, detoxication programs and lab work should all be employed when using artemisinin.