Some 40 years later, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on cancer research and the return on this investment has been negligible. Cancer remains a major killer for more than 500,000 US citizens every year and nothing on the horizon looks promising to change this scenario.

Part of the reason for this is that cancer treatment has become more of a business manipulated by Big Pharma than a service that cures cancer. The bottom line is about return on investment, not about service or helping people.

There are a wide range of natural products that cannot be patented that have potential to treat cancer. You would think that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would sponsor research on these chemicals because it is supported by public funds and should therefore be responsive to public need. It may surprise you that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research represents less than 1% of the research dollars spent by the NIH. Who, then, is committed to doing the research of the people that Big Pharma will not support because it has no return on investment? Also consider that Big Pharma spends twice as much ($92 billion per year) as NIH.

One of these natural products is wormwood extract, or artemisinin. This herb had been used by the Chinese for thousands of years for treating malaria before it was lost. It was rediscovered in 1970 and has slowly returned to clinical use, especially for drug resistant falciparum malaria, but also for treatment of most cancers.

Artemisinin contains two oxygen atoms hooked together that break down in the presence of iron, by creating very reactive free radicals that kill malaria parasites and cancer cells. Both cancer cells and malaria parasites sequester iron, accumulating as much as 1000 times what normal cells store. Giving artemisinin to people with malaria or cancer results in destruction of these abnormal cells and leaves normal cells unaffected. Artemisinin is a cancer bomb!

Generally, chemotherapy is toxic to both cancer cells and normal cells. In the case of artemisinin this is not true; only the cancer cells are damaged. In more than 4000 case studies, no significant toxicity from artemisinin has been found, which makes it far different than conventional chemotherapy.

Results from clinical trials are conspicuously absent. However, there a numerous individual case reports suggesting that artemisinin works in vitro (in test tubes) and in both animals and human beings with far advanced cancer. I would suggest reviewing the work of Christina L. White's two part series on Cancer Smart Bomb at

There are three forms of artemisinin: artemisinin, artesunate, and artemether. All are absorbed well after oral intake and cross the blood brain barrier. They are best absorbed on an empty stomach. The intestine builds up resistance to absorbing, so it is wise to only take the drug for a few days and then stopping for a few days as this resistance is reversible.

Artemisinin and its derivatives offer the possibility of using a non-toxic form of chemotherapy that is inexpensive and readily available. Because of its excellent safety profile, it should be a consideration for cancer treatment when conventional treatments have failed or when people refuse conventional therapies.