Qinghaosu, The Most Effective Malaria Medicine from the Ancient Books of Traditional Medicine"Qinghaosu or often called artemisia extract is a malaria medicine found in an ancient book containing thousands of traditional Chinese medicine procedures. This most effective malaria medicine has saved millions of human lives."
Published by : Farida - 05/10/2022 17:00 WIB
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In the 1950s and 1970s the world was facing an epidemic of malaria. The assumption of doctors and researchers that they had found a cure for malaria at that time was refuted. The Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria became resistant to the malaria drug at that time, chloroquine. As a result, the epidemic exploded again and was difficult to control.
This condition makes researchers from various countries rush to research Malaria with the aim of making malaria medicines that are more potent and effective. The tirto.id page noted that at that time there were two major studies to find a new antimalarial.
The first is from the United States (US). The research was based on military motives, because in 1964 more US soldiers died of malaria in the jungles of Vietnam than were killed in war. Unfortunately, until 1972 this research could not find an effective compound for antimalarials.
The second study was conducted in China during the reign of Mao Zedong. The initiation of this antimalarial research began when the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, asked Mao Zedong for help to help deal with the malaria epidemic in Vietnam in 1964.
In 1967, the Chinese military began research to find a cure for malaria. The secret research was inaugurated on May 23, 1967, hence the name Project 523. Luckily, China has a very long history of traditional medicine.
The Chinese military cooperates with the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine to conduct research in terms of traditional medicine. This is in line with Mao Zedong’s policy regarding the Cultural Revolution which tends not to favor scientific breakthroughs.
Tu Youyou, a researcher from the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine was appointed to lead Project 523 in terms of traditional medicine. Tu immediately took his team to Hainan Island, which is one of the areas of Malaria outbreak.
Tu and his team brought home more than 2000 recipes for traditional medicine from the island. The recipes are not only from plants but also from minerals and animals.
Excerpted from a scientific article entitled Discovery of Artemisinin (Qinghaosu) by Fulong Liao which was published in the Journal Molecules in 2009, that from 2000 recipes obtained were narrowed down to 640 recipes considered to have antimalarial effects.
From 640 recipes, it was reduced to 380 recipes for extracts from 200 Chinese herbs. One of the
Tu and his team found that Artemisia extract exerted an antimalarial effect. However, the results are very unstable. At this point Tu again refers to various ancient traditional medicine books in China.
He collected books on ancient medicine dealing with fever medicine, one of the most common symptoms of malaria sufferers. The turning point of his research occurred when Tu took the technique from the traditional medicine book ‘Prescriptions for Emergency’ by Ge Hong of the Jin Dynasty (284-346 AD).
Ge Hong’s book hints at how to extract effective artemisia by avoiding overheating the extracting processes. Tu ended up replacing the components used to make the extract. The result is 100% effective for antimalarials.
Because of the demands at the time, Tu and two of his colleagues became the first humans to try this malaria medicine artemisinin. Then Tu brought samples of the malaria herbal medicine artemisinin to Hainan Island to cure the people there.
Artemisin extract as a malaria herbal medicine has been found since the late 1970s, but reportedly did not quickly spread to the international world. In addition to this confidential research, scientific articles discussing it are still only written in Chinese. The medicine is called Qinghaosu.
Qinghao is the name of Artemisia annua in Chinese, while the addition of su means the most basic element. So, the medicine has artemisia annua as its most basic element.
Tu Youyou only presented his findings to international eyes in the 1980s. In fact, the WHO just inaugurated the use of Artemisin as a first step in the treatment of malaria in 2005.