Introduction: The WHO published The use of non- pharmaceutical forms of Artemisia in October 10, 2019. It is in reference to Malaria, not COVID. My comments are in red. Their words are in black. This is not the text of the whole document. The whole document is available on the link above.


WHO does not support the promotion or use of Artemisia plant material in any form for the prevention or treatment of malaria.

This position is based on the following considerations:

The content of the Artemisia herbal remedies given for malaria treatment and prevention varies substantially. The content and quality of the Artemisia herbal remedies are affected by variations in the content of the plant material and the preparation method.

Using Multiple Linear Regression, variance within samples of plants can explain the effects of all individual compounds in a plant.

It is not feasible to implement the required level of quality control for cultivation, harvest and post-harvest aspects of Artemisia in the context of home-grown or small-scale cultivation.

  1. It is a lie to say that farmers and gardeners cannot grow a high-quality product.
  2. The whole herb is superior to any one chemical that can be derived from it.

To achieve high efficacy rates, sufficient levels of artemisinin need to be administrated and absorbed over seven days. The pharmacological properties of artemisinin mean that higher levels of artemisinin need to be administered on the last days of treatment than on the first days in order to achieve the same artemisinin blood levels. Too short treatments or too low blood levels of artemisinin will result in either failure to clear parasites from the blood or high levels of recrudescence. Artemesia annua contains varying levels of artemisinin.Artemisinin is only one of the compounds in Artemisia.

You changed the subject from the plant to a chemical.

Herbal remedies prepared using A. annua with significant artemisinin content may improve symptoms…

“Symptoms” cause deaths. Artemisia saves lives.

The available evidence does not support claims that the antimalarial activity of other plant constituents or synergism between artemisinin and other constituents will significantly increase the efficacy of non-pharmaceutical forms of A. annua.

You aren’t arguing for testing, or funding testing, to acquire evidence related to “synergism.” “Available evidence” is restricted by a system designed to protect pharmaceutical companies from herbal competition.

Artemisinin and artemisinin derivatives are the key compound in the artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) used to treat millions suffering from malaria. The artemisinin derivative, artesunate, is used to save the lives of those suffering from severe malaria. Resistance causing the loss of the effectiveness of these drugs would be a disaster.

Does the plant cause resistance to your chemicals, or vice versa?

If consumption of A. annua becomes widespread, any potential weak antimalarial activity of other compounds in A. annua would not be sufficient to protect artemisinin from resistance. Resistance is more likely to develop and spread when a parasite population is exposed to sub-therapeutic levels of an antimalarial drug.

If resistance comes from sub-therapeutic levels of a drug, why are you trying to blame a plant for it?

Herbal medicines have been a key source for the discovery of antimalarial medicines. It is possible that future antimalarial compounds will also be discovered through research on the herbal treatments used in the past. However, any research needs to respect the ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects and be approved by local ethical committees. The well-being of the individual research subject must take precedence over all other interests. Medical research involving human subjects must conform to generally accepted scientific principles and be based on thorough knowledge of the scientific literature, other relevant sources of information, and adequate laboratory experimentation*


The WHO says: “The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 409 000 in 2019.”

WHO does not support the promotion or use of Artemisia plant material in any form for the prevention or treatment of malaria”

“Herbal remedies prepared using A. annua with significant artemisinin content may improve symptoms…”