The Chinese name of artemisia is Liu Ji Nu, which was originally the childhood name of Liu Yu (363–422), the founding emperor of the Chinese dynasty Liu Song. This is the only Chinese herb that is named after an emperor. Actually how it was found is related to an interesting story.
One day when little Liu Yu went up to the mountains for cutting firewood, he came across a giant snake. He broke out in a cold sweat and in haste grabbed the bow and arrow to shoot it in the head. Then the snake fled wounded. The next day he went into the hills again and out of the distance came a pounding sound that was quite faint. He followed the sound and found that two boys in green were pounding medicine. Then he came up and asked: “Whom are you pounding medicine for? And what is it for?” The boys replied: “Our king was shot by Ji Nu yesterday and now we are sent to gather herbs for his wound.” Liu Yu heard and roared to them: “I am Liu Ji Nu and coming for you.” These two boys were so scared that they escaped and left the medicine. And the rest is a history.
What is artemisia plant?
Medicinally it means the whole plant of Artemisia anomala S.Moore. This is a plant in the family Compositae. And other names of it include Artemesia, Diverse Wormwood Herb, Artemesia Herb, Herba Artemisiae Anomalae, and so on. In China it is mainly produced in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hunan and other places. All of them grow in the wild. For medicinal purpose its aboveground part is usually collected during August and September when it is flowering. And then remove the dirt, dry in the sun, and cut into sections.
Artemisia plant is one of perennial grasses, 80 to 150cm high. The erect stems are often branched above the middle part; the puberulent upper part has inflorescence branches. The lower leaves wither and fall during flowering time; central leaves are nearly leathery, oblong or ovate-lanceolate, 7 to 11cm long, and 3 to 4cm wide. Numerous, sessile capitulum gathers on the flowering branch. Achenes are small, oblong, and glabrous. Habitats are forest edge, thickets, and riversides.
Main chemical constituents are arteanoflavone, coumarin, eupatilin, tricin, herniarin, scopatilin, umbelliferone, salvigenin, reynosin, armexifolin, tanaphillin isomet, artanomaloide, arteanomalactone, volatile oil, and so on.
Artemisia health benefits
Artemisia herb is traditionally used for injuries from falls, fractures, contusions and strains. What’s more, today the artemisia essential oil and extract are widely used for the treatments of acute icteric hepatitis, toothache, chronic bronchitis, stomatitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, nephritis, malaria, conjunctivitis, otitis media, sores, eczema, traumatic bleeding, etc.
Modern pharmacology of artemisia herb
1. It can accelerate the blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and promote blood clotting;
2. Its decoction can increase coronary flow in guinea pigs and show noticeable anti-hypoxic activity on mice;
3. Its decoction has inhibition on Shigella sonnei bacteria and Shigella flexneri.
Selected herbal remedies on artemesia
The Chinese Materia Medica shows that it is acrid and slightly bitter in taste and warm in properties. And it goes to heart, liver, and spleen. Main functions are breaking stasis to restore menstrual flow, stopping bleeding and reducing swelling, and helping digestion. Artemisia herbal uses and indications include amenorrhea, abdominal pain due to stasis after childbirth, lochia, abdominal mass, bruises, traumatic bleeding, arthralgia due to wind and dampness, blood in the stool, hematuria, carbuncle, burns, indigestion-induced abdominal pain, and diarrhea and dysentery. Recommended dosage is from 5 to 10 grams (even 15 to 30 grams alone for treating dyspepsia) in decoction or powder.
1. Liu Shang Yin from Shang Ke Mi Fang (Nostrums for treatment of injuries). It is combined with Gu Sui Bu (Drynaria), Yan Hu Suo (Corydalis Rhizome), etc. for the treatment of bruises and stasis-induced swelling.
2. Zhi Xue Hei Rong Xu from Nostrums for Treatment of Injuries. It is formulated with Qian Cao (madder), Wu Bei Zi (Gallnut of Chinese Sumac), etc. to stop traumatic bleeding.
3. Liu Ji Nu Tang from Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence). It is coupled with Gan Cao (Licorice Root) to treat all the postpartum conditions caused by blood flow blockage.
4. Liu Ji Nu San from Pu Ji Ben Shi Fang (Prescriptions for Universal Relief). It is used alone in the form of powder to heal metal-inflicted wound and relieve pain.
Artemisia plant side effects and contraindications
Clinically artemisia plant decoction showed no adverse reactions when its dose was increased to 200g (crude drug) in the treatment of acute infectious hepatitis. And there were no side effects either in another case when a patient was given 250ml decoction (containing crude drug 250g) once a day. And the normal dosage is from 50 to 100ml, twice a day. Besides, use it with care during pregnancy and stay away from it in the cases of qi-blood deficiency and diarrhea due to spleen deficiency.