Learn how artemisinin cures malaria, Babesia, and may prove to be a "smart bomb" for cancer. Read about the experiments in alternative medicine that are causing so much excitement.

Researchers have been looking for some time at the supplement artemisinin, says Robert J. Rowen, M.D. in his monthly Newsletter, Second Opinion (March 2007).

Henry Lai of the University of Washington showed in a lab experiment several years ago that this substance selectively kills malignant cancer cells. Lai's latest research indicates that it may also prevent breast cancer.

In the experiment, rats were given a substance that induces multiple breast cancers. The rats were divided into an experimental group, which received artemisinin in their food, and a control group, where no changes were made. The experimental group had a 40% lower incidence of breast cancer, and their tumors were fewer and smaller.

The artemisinin damages cancer cells by reacting with the iron in those cells. The iron in normal cells is not available for this kind of reaction.


Artemisinin is best known for the treatment of malaria, where it uses a similar kind of reaction with iron to kill the malaria parasite. It's been called a "smart bomb" for malaria; now some experts think it may do the same for cancer.

Dr. Rowen says he's followed several women who had stability or significant improvement with their breast cancer, and they were using artemisinin as one of their cancer treatment options. He says he's not recommending it yet for all women to take to prevent breast cancer, but those at higher risk, he says, might consider 200 to 400 milligrams twice daily. He recommends Nutricology brand. You can find it on the Internet.


Artemisinin is also used to treat another red blood cell parasite called Babesia, which often goes undiagnosed in the U.S. and elswhere. Like malaria, Babesia causes intermittent flu-like fevers, sweats, significant fatigue, migraines, shortness of breath, and chest pain. James Schaller, M.D., has discovered that at least eight species of Babesia in America infect humans, and are the cause of both dangerous and mild illnesses in children and adults. Dr. Schaller has written a book called "Artemisinin, Artesunate, Artemisinic Acid and Other Derivatives of Artemisia Used for Malaria, Babesia and Cancer."

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Copyright 2006 Joanna Fuchs Artemisinin