It’s amazing how much the natural world has to offer us humans. Not only does it provide us with a place to live, but there’s more and more evidence that it can provide treatments for diseases better than man-made drugs can.
For example, Artemisia is a genus of hardy shrub-like plants whose leaves and essential oils have been used in Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years to treat conditions such as fevers, bladder infections and to boost the immune system.
There are more than 200 species of Artemisia, some of which you may already know: A. dracunculus (tarragon) and A. absinthium (wormwood, traditionally used in producing absinthe).
Artemisinin, a chemical compound derived from Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood or annual mugwort, has been used as an effective, FDA-approved treatment for malaria since the 1970s.
And for years, a body of evidence has been growing to indicate that derivatives of artemisinin can be used as an effective treatment for all kinds of cancers.
Read on to learn more about this little known wonder drug…
How Can a Plant Cure Cancer?
Artemisinin and its derivative compounds attack and kill cancer cells in much the same way it does the malaria parasite. The key to its success in both cases is high concentrations of iron.
You see, healthy cells in the human body require iron to replicate DNA when they divide to create more healthy cells. The malaria parasite and cancer cells, which are characterized by rapid and abnormal cell division, hoard an excess amount of iron, sometimes as high as 1,000 times more than healthy cells.
Artemisinin and its derivatives contain two bonded oxygen molecules (peroxides) that are attracted to iron. When the compounds attach themselves to these iron-rich and deadly cells, it creates an oxidative reaction, similar to what happens in the oxidation of healthy cells. However, in this case, it reacts with the cancer cells only, and not the healthy cells nearby. Once attached to the cancer cell, the compound releases free radicals inside the cell, destroying it.
Artemisinin is non-toxic and poses no threat to other systems in the body, unlike chemotherapy and radiation, which are harmful to both healthy and cancer cells. Conventional treatments such as these also wreak havoc on the digestive and reproductive systems, the hair follicles and causes dozens of other side effects that drastically reduce the patient’s quality of life.
Clinical Studies Show Promising Results
Clinical studies have shown various derivatives of artemisinin, notably dihydroartemisinin (DHA) and artesunate (ART) to effectively destroy cancer cell lines in vitro. Long-time readers of Cancer Defeated may remember Dr. Henry Lai and Dr. Narendra Singh, bioengineers at the University of Washington.
I mentioned their pioneering studies using artemisinin back in Issue #382, where they discovered that “dihydroartemisinin [DHA]… effectively killed a type of radiation-resistant human breast cancer cell in vitro.” And that “the same treatment had considerably less effect on normal human breast cells.”(5)
Since that time, more research has been conducted and it’s been determined that artemisinin can be used as an effect treatment for more than 50 kinds of cancers! According to the updated edition of The Complete Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments, DHA has been shown to kill cells affected by ovarian cancer, leukemia, bone cancer, colorectal and liver cancer, among others.(8) Artemisinin can cross the blood-brain barrier, making it an effective treatment for brain cancer (glioma), as well.
One study shows that ART killed many human papillomavirus (HPV)-affected cells, meaning it can be used against cervical cancer.(3) Another study found that ART “was most active against leukemia and colon cancer cell lines.”(9)
And another study, performed earlier this year, proved that “DHA inhibited cell proliferation and colony formation [and] induced cell apoptosis [cell death] in cultured human [non-small cell lung cancer] NSCLC cells.”(6) This is an important discovery, as NSCLC has been resistant to chemotherapy. We may have new avenues of healing on the horizon.
In many of these studies, the artemisinin derivatives are combined with holotransferrin or other transferrin receptors. This increases the concentration of iron in cancer cells and acts like a homing device. The artemisinin can detect and destroy the cancer cells that much quicker, speeding up the process.
In fact, in vitro studies of breast cancer cells show 28% of the cells disappeared within 16 hours of treatment. When holotransferrin is added the number jumps to 98% within the same amount of time!(10)
Thousands of Case Studies Can’t be Wrong
While clinical studies are accumulating evidence that artemisinin works, there have been more than 4,000 case studies in which people with various kinds of cancer, in differing stages, have taken courses of artemisinin derivatives and seen incredible results.
Consider, if you will:
- Donald, a 47-year-old mechanic with a newly diagnosed lymphoma came to see Dr. Henry Rowen after Donald’s oncologist had biopsied the tumor. Dr. Rowen put him “on a derivative of this Chinese herb” for two weeks. Four weeks later the tumor was gone! Dr. Rowen said, “I couldn’t believe my eyes. The skin was smooth, no mass was present.”(4)
- Diane, a 47-year-old woman with stage 4 breast cancer, came to Dr. Rowen with a cancer-induced fracture in her spine caused by metastases. He put her on a regimen of alternative therapies that included artemisinin derivatives and all her symptoms regressed. She reported “that physically she couldn’t tell that she had ever had cancer.”(4)
- Carol had been fighting breast cancer for two years when she came to see Dr. Rowen. She started a course of artemisinin derivatives and saw “exceptional healing” after just one month.(4)
- A man with cancer of the larynx was given injections and tablets of water-soluble artesunate for nine months. After just two months the tumor was reduced by 70% and the patient’s quality of life was improved.(11)
Dr. Rowen interviewed Dr. Hoang, a doctor in Vietnam who has been using artemisinin as part of a comprehensive cancer treatment strategy for about 10 years. Dr. Hoang says that, of the 400 or so patients he has treated, 50% to 60% of them were in long-term remission.(4)
How Do I Get the Benefits of This Amazing Herb?
While I wouldn’t advocate treating cancer all alone, artemisinin derivatives are available through trusted dealers. The Complete Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments suggests that Allergy Research Group and Nutricology are both reputable brands.(8) Artemisia Biomedical has a variety of proprietary blends. Be sure to check the seller’s background and that the concentrations of artemisinin are high. It is usually available in capsule or liquid forms.
The particular derivative, as well as the recommended dosage, depends on the kind of cancer and the patient’s constitution. If you go this route, it’s best to work with a doctor of complementary and alternative medicine.
Artemisinin is a safe, nontoxic and natural compound, but it’s possible for your body to build up a resistance to it. To that end, you’ll want to take a pulse regimen, meaning you’ll take it for three or four days and then rest for three days.
Dr. Hoang suggests taking artemisinin for two years because, like malaria and other parasites, if you don’t eradicate the cancer cells completely, it could gain a foothold and come back.(4) Again, you’ll want to work with a trusted doctor when delving into alternative treatments.
If you are already undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, be careful about adding in artemisinin treatments, as radiation therapy could cause free iron leaks into healthy tissue and cells, which could then be attacked.
Chemotherapy and radiation are still the go-to treatments for doctors practicing conventional medicine, and they may not know about this treatment option. But it’s too promising to overlook. It’s important to remember that the use of artemisinin derivatives for the treatment of cancer is experimental, and in the very early stages of testing.
That said, the herb is nontoxic and provides other benefits, so it could be worth a try. Contact an alternative medicine practitioner if you’re interested in moving forward with this exciting new possibility in the fight against cancer.
(1) Dihydroartemisinin inhibits glucose uptake and cooperates with glycolysis inhibitor to induce apoptosis in non-small cell lung carcinoma cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4370589/
(2) Inhibition of urokinase-type plasminogen activator expression by dihydroartemisinin in breast cancer cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24765140
(3) Dihydroartemisinin is cytotoxic to papillomavirus-expressing epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16322232
(4) Artemisinin and Cancer: Extract of Chinese Herb Fights Cancer This Malaria Drug Also Kills Cancer Cells. https://www.springboard4health.com/notebook/nutrients_artemisinin.html
(5) Selective toxicity of dihydroartemisinin and holotransferrin toward human breast cancer cells. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0024-3205(01)01372-8
(6) Dr. Lee Saputo blog: http://doctorsaputo.com/blog/view/artemisinin-a-cancer-smart-bomb-1
(7) Dihydroartemisinininhibits glucose uptake and cooperates with glycolysis inhibitor to induce apoptosis in non-small cell lung carcinoma cells. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0120426
(8) Artemisia/Artemisinin/Sweet Wormwood, The Complete Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments.
(9) The anti-malarial artesunate is also active against cancer. http://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijo/18/4/767
(10) Artemisinin: A cancer smart bomb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Or8xLOGBu8
(11) Case report of a laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma treated with artesunate. http://dx.doi.org/10.2298/AOO0204279S