Is Chinese Medicine’s Artemisinin an Example That Western Medicine Should Take a Closer Look At?

A treatment for malaria that comes from a plant is called artemisinin. Malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite that gets in your blood from a mosquito bite. The thing about this substance from a plant that treats it is that it is a natural substance. Another thing, that I think is neat, is that it is part of Chinese medicine. A lot of people discount Chinese medicine as being nowhere near as effective as modern Western medical practices and treatments. However, it has been around and is still in use for over 5,000 years. There has to be something to it for it to last that long.

The artemisinin that is available in pill form comes from a plant called sweet wormwood. If you look at the side effects that are possible from using it, you see that it has a small list as compared to some other synthetic drugs that are in common use. Don’t get me wrong, any chemical has a side effect risk. A common aspirin has its risks too. However, for a natural substance that is actually pharmacologically effective against malaria, this has a pretty decent risk profile.

It is also used for its antiviral properties. As you probably know, there are not a whole lot of things that are antiviral in nature. Well, I know we have cleaning compounds and disinfectants, but I am talking about things you can take internally that are actually active against some viruses. Maybe this is something that should be investigated further. I have always wondered what would happen if modern medicine in the west would take a close look and research some of the things used in medicine in the east. Maybe there would be some great discoveries of things that could be synthesized or enhanced to make them more effective.


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