Sweet Annie

Last Editorial Review: 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Absinthe Sauvage, Ajenjo Silvestre, Annual Mugwort, Annual Wormwood, Armoise Amère, Armoise Annuelle, Artémise, Artemisia annua, Artemisia, Artemisinin, Chinese Wormwood, Ching-hao, Herba Artemisiae Annuae, Herbe aux Cent Goûts, Huang Hua Guo, Qing Hao, Qinghaosu, Sourcil de Lune, Sweet Wormwood.


Sweet Annie is an herb. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Sweet Annie is used most commonly for malaria. It contains a chemical that can be changed in the laboratory to make it more effective against malaria. This lab-made product is sold as a prescription drug for malaria in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Sweet Annie is also used for bacterial infections such as dysentery and tuberculosis; illnesses caused by worms, other parasites, and mites; fungal infections; and viral infections such as the common cold. Other uses include treatment of upset stomach, fever, yellowed skin (jaundice), psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune disorders, loss of appetite, blood vessel disorders, constipation, gallbladder disorders, stomach pain, painful menstruation, and joint pain (rheumatism).

People with AIDS sometimes use Sweet Annie to prevent an often fatal type of lung infection called pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) that is caused by a fungus.

Sweet Annie is sometimes applied directly to the skin for bacterial and fungal infections, arthritis and other joint pain, bruises, nerve pain, and sprains.

How does it work?

Sweet Annie contains a chemical called artemisinin that seems to be effective against the parasites that cause malaria. Some drug manufacturers make anti-malarial medications from artemisinin that they have modified in the laboratory.

Sweet Annie should not be used alone for malaria since it may only inactivate the parasites that cause malaria, not actually kill them. The amount of artemisinin in Sweet Annie might be too small to kill all the parasites that cause malaria, but large enough to make these parasites resistant to further treatment with more powerful malaria drugs that also contain artemisinin.

Many researchers are investigating new ways to increase the amount of artemisinin in Sweet Annie.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Malaria. Taking Sweet Annie tea for 4-7 days might improve symptoms and decrease the number of active parasites in people with malaria. The tea should not be boiled, because heat will destroy the chemical that seems to fight malaria. There is some concern that if Sweet Annie tea is used alone instead of in combination with usual malaria treatments it might only inactivate the malaria parasites, not actually kill them.
  • AIDS-related infections.
  • Anorexia.
  • Arthritis.
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Fungal infections.
  • Bruises.
  • Common cold.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Gallbladder disorders.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice).
  • Night sweats.
  • Painful menstruation.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Scabies.
  • Sprains.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Sweet Annie for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Sweet Annie is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth. The tea of Sweet Annie might cause upset stomach and vomiting. It might also cause an allergic reaction in some people including a rash and cough.

There has been one report of liver damage in a person who took doses of Sweet Annie that were too large. But liver damage has not been reported in people taking typical doses.

Not enough is known about the safety of applying Sweet Annie directly to the skin.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Sweet Annie is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Animal studies show that drugs made in the laboratory from artemisinin, a chemical found in Sweet Annie, can cause death of the fetus or birth defects when used early in the pregnancy. The safety of using Sweet Annie during the last 6 months of pregnancy is not known. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization considers drugs made in the laboratory from artemisinin acceptable to use during the last six months of pregnancy, if no other malaria treatment is available.

The safety of using Sweet Annie during breast-feeding is not known. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Sweet Annie may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking Sweet Annie.


Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2B6 [CYP2B6] substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Sweet Annie might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Sweet Annie along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking sweet Annie, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications changed by the liver include ketamine (Ketalar), phenobarbital, orphenadrine (Norflex), secobarbital (Seconal), and dexamethasone (Decadron).

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 [CYP3A4] substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Sweet Annie might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Sweet Annie along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking sweet Annie, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications changed by the liver include some calcium channel blockers (diltiazem, nicardipine, verapamil), chemotherapeutic agents (etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine), antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole), glucocorticoids, fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Sublimaze, others), losartan (Cozaar), fluoxetine (Prozac), midazolam (Versed), omeprazole (Prilosec), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), fexofenadine (Allegra), and many others.


The appropriate dose of Sweet Annie depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for Sweet Annie. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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