Artemisia Annua & Artemisia Apiacea (Sweet Annie/Qing Hao) for Lupus

Lupus is a disease results from damage to the healthy cells of the body by its own immune system. The main symptoms of this disease are due to the inflammation it causes within the system. [1]

This defective immune response can lead to damage to many organs of the body. It can affect the brain, kidneys, lung, heart, and blood flow systems too. [2] [3]

Lupus damages the joints leading to pain and swelling. It also causes rashes, fatigue, fever, kidney damage, mouth ulcers, etc as its symptoms. [4]

Herbal medicine is one of the most popular and effective therapies in managing lupus which is devoid of a permanent cure.

Researchers propose numerous herbal supplements that possess the ability to fight lupus inflammation and its symptoms. [5]

The benefits of using herbal supplements are due to their reduced side effects which are otherwise a major hurdle faced by lupus patients.

What are Artemisia annua and Artemisia apiaceae (Sweet Annie or Qing Hao)?

Artemisia annua and Artemisia apiaceae is a weed that grows in varied soil conditions. It is referred to as Sweet Annie in English.

Whereas the Chinese refer to it as Qing Hao and Huang Hua Hao. [6]

The use of this plant was discovered in the 4th century to treat malaria. Since then this drug has been in use to treat malarial parasite.

The flowers and leaves of this plant possess medicinal benefits. [7] [8]

Artemisinin is the main active ingredient that provides the medicinal effects to these plants. [9] It was isolated by a Chinese scientist, Youyou Tu in the year 1972. [10]

It also contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial effects. [11]

Artemisinin is discovered to be effective in controlling immune function related to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.[12]

The latest research has identified the great potential of artemisinin in benefiting lupus patients.[13]

Benefits of Artemisia annua and Artemisia apiaceae (Sweet Annie) In Lupus Patients

Artemisia annua and Artemisia apiacea (Sweet Annie or Qing Hao)

The benefits of Artemisia annua or sweet annie in lupus patients is predominantly due to its effects of anti-inflammation and antioxidant.

It reduces oxidative stress as well as inflammation. This effect helps in reducing joint pain. This effect of artemisia also reduces the kidney damage called lupus nephritis which is common among lupus patients.

1. Artemisia is a Powerful Antioxidant Reduces Oxidative Stress in Lupus

The deficiency of antioxidant in lupus patients is well-known. This is the reason for higher levels of oxidative stress in them. [14]

Higher the oxidative stress, higher will be the damage caused to the healthy cells of the body. [15]

Artemisinin or sweet annie contains potent antioxidant effects. This effect renders it to reduce the level of oxidative stress by removing the toxins from the body. [16]

A research study conducted upon the leaves of sweet annie proved that it contains powerful antioxidant capacity that can prevent oxidative stress. [17]

Research trials in animals have also shown to reduce the damage to the cells caused by low antioxidant levels. [18]

What does this Mean? Antioxidant property of artemisia is vital in reducing oxidative stress in lupus patients which adds on to the cell damage in the patient’s body.

2. Anti-inflammatory Effect of Artemisia Can Fight Lupus Inflammation

Inflammation within the body of lupus patients occurs as a result of irregulated immune system functioning. Lupus therapy thus necessitates the attenuation of inflammation in the body. [19]

Artemisinin or sweet annie is found to provide anti-inflammation by suppressing the pro-inflammatory chemicals that bring about inflammation. [20]

Artemisinin reduces the development of auto-antibodies (that are responsible for the attack on healthy cells) within the body which halts inflammation. [21]

A wide range of research on animals has confirmed the anti-inflammatory effect of artemisinin in lupus. [22] [23] The key factor of artemisinin in reducing inflammatory chemicals is evident and striking.[24]

However, more trials on lupus patients on artemisinin can further strengthen this effect. It may lead to the addition of this drug into lupus medications along with the other antimalarials used to treat lupus.

What does this Mean? Lupus-related inflammation can be reduced by using artemisinin or sweet annie as it has proven the benefits of reducing the inflammatory chemicals in the body.

3. Artemisia Can Effectively Treat Lupus Nephritis and Prevent Its Recurrence

Lupus patients are usually affected with a type of kidney damage due to the inflammation that causes lupus. This damage is called ‘lupus nephritis’.

The anti-inflammatory effect of artemisinin is crucial in abating lupus nephritis damage caused to the kidneys by inflammatory biochemicals.[25]

A clinical trial involving 61 lupus nephritis patients proved that artemisinin protects kidney function and it has a major role to play in preventing the relapse of nephritis. [26]

Artemisinin therapy was recorded to have a low side effect compared with conventional therapies. [27]

Research also shows that artemisinin is effective in reducing lupus nephritis symptoms, improving urine function and clearing the physical damage that is caused to the kidneys. [28]

What does this Mean? Lupus nephritis is kidney damage that occurs commonly among lupus patients. Artemisinin is proven to benefit in clearing the damage as well as in preventing its recurrence.

4. Artemisinin Can Reduce Joint Pain in Lupus Patients

Joint pain or arthritis is a common troublesome symptom of lupus that needs medication and other therapies for patients to perform daily activities.

A good number of research studies on animals have proved that artemisinin has a positive effect on arthritis.

This effect is attributed to the anti-inflammatory property that enables it to reduce the damage on the joints and improving movement. [29]

However, more trials in lupus patients are necessary to fix the right dose and estimate the magnitude of this benefit in them.

What does this Mean? Artemisia can also reduce joint pain in lupus patients. This effect is well demonstrated in animal studies but, human trials are still awaited.

How to Take – Dosage

Sweet annie or Artemisia annua herb can be taken in the form of tea by boiling 9 grams of leaves in a liter of water.[30]

Artemisinin extracts are available in the form of tablets. However, the exact dosage of artemisinin tablet for lupus patients have not been established as of now.


This herb is known to cause nausea when taken in crude form. Including an anti-emetic herb like mint or ginger can prevent this side effect. [31]

Using artemisinin can also cause vomiting, dizziness and minor liver problems side effects too. These side effects are known to wear off with the discontinuation of therapy. [32]

Even though artemisia has very little side effects, it is best to consult a medical professional before taking this supplement for lupus.


The use of antimalarial herbs in managing lupus is a common medicinal approach. Artemisia is another antimalarial that possesses great potential in managing lupus.

Artemisia can reduce inflammation in lupus patients which can reduce its burdensome symptoms.

Antioxidant effects of artemisia can reduce the exaggerated oxidative stress in lupus patients that lead to more cell damage in the body.

Kidney damage complication arising from lupus can also be reduced by using artemisia herb. It also prevents recurrence of kidney damage in the long run.

Artemisia species are a great supplement that can be used to treat lupus problems. Owing to its lower side effect levels compared to other therapies is the best possible trait that makes this a significant herbal remedy for lupus.

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