Artemisia absinthium's ability to rid the intestines
of parasitic worms earned this plant its common name, "Wormwood,"
and its reputation for curing a wide variety of stomach ailments.
Folkloric medicinal uses of this bitter root are documented
in ancient Egyptian writings and the Bible. In the 1970s,
archeologists unearthed ancient Chinese medical recipes that
used Wormwood to treat malaria, a disease caused by a mosquito-borne
revealed that a compound in Wormwood called "artemisinin"
does in fact help kill off the malaria parasite in the blood
stream, and the treatment regained popularity in modern Asia
and Africa. More recently, researchers at the University of
Washington have looked into artemisinin's ability to kill
cancer cells. In a 2001 article in the journal Life Sciences,
researchers Henry Lai and Naredndra Singh reported that artemisinin
killed 75% of human breast cancer cells exposed to the compound
after just eight hours. Earlier research suggests artemisinin
is even more effective with Leukemia. Though these results
are very promising, the compound will require more laboratory
tests before even preliminary testing begins in humans.