Plant of the month: strengthen your immune system with Artemisia annua

  • Now more than ever, giving our immune system a boost seems like a great idea.
  • In the vegetable kingdom there are many plants that are powerful allies in the reinforcement of our immune system.
  • In this post we explain how Artemisia annua can help improve your health.

What is Artemisia annua?

Artemisia annua is a plant commonly known as sweet wormwood, or Chinese wormwood, which belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is believed to originate from Asia, although nowadays it can be found in several areas around the globe, including Europe, U.S.A. and Canada.

Even though this plant has only gained recognition in the last few decades, it has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, especially for the treatment of menstrual pain and fever.

What are the medicinal properties of Artemisia annua?

Throughout history, Artemisia annua has been used to treat several complaints thanks to the medical properties of its main component: artemisinin. This compound, in combination with other substances, has become one of the leading treatments for malaria. However, this is a controversial issue as the World Health Organisation has resoundingly advised against its use in raw form (for instance as an infusion). WHO believes that this actually makes the body more resistant and therefore reduces the effectiveness of artemisinin against the disease. Nonetheless, other organisations and activist groups believe that this criterion only reflects the individual interests of pharmaceutical companies rather than those of public health in general. In any case, the effectiveness of Artemisia annua against malaria has already been proven.

Besides its effectiveness in the treatment of malaria, Artemisia annua also showcases the following medicinal properties:

  • It exhibits immunoregulatory properties, i.e. it helps strengthen the immune system. It is a great ally in the fight against all types of viruses, and can help alleviate cold and flu symptoms.
  • It helps regulate the nervous system; it alleviates anxiety and irritability.
  • It helps improve the respiratory system: it has proven effective in the treatment of bronchitis.
  • It alleviates physical and mental fatigue.
  • It stimulates kidney and gallbladder function.
  • It purifies the liver.
  • It alleviates period pain.

Artemisia annua infusions are recommended in the treatment of several complaints, or as a preventive measure. Nonetheless, its use is not advised for prolonged periods as the body can become resistant to artemisinin, which would in turn reduce the effectiveness of this substance.

Directions for use

  • Add 1 dessert spoon of Artemisia annua per cup; take 2 to 3 times per day.
  • When water reaches boiling point, turn off and add the herbs.
  • Do not boil the leaves as they will lose their beneficial properties.


  • It is vital not to exceed the recommended daily dosage. Taking Artemisia annua in excess could be toxic and cause negative side effects on human health.
  • Not recommended if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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