Ancient Folk Remedy Reduces Steroid Dosage
In a newly released study, use of the Chinese herb wormwood (Artemisia or "Sweet Annie") wnabled a reduced dose of the steroid prednisone in people with Crohn's disease. In thie German study, 40 patients - 20 in each treatment group - received a stable daily dose (40 mg or less) of prednisone for 3 weeks. They were administered an herbal blend containing wormwood (4x500 mg/day) or a placebo for 10 weeks.

Beginning at week 2, researchers began a gradual tapering down of the steroid dose used by all participants. Over subsequent weeks, most of those given the placebo showed a worsening of symptoms that the reduction of the prednisone dose would be expected to cause. In contrast, most of those receiving wormwood showed a gradual improvement of symptoms. There was an almost complete remission in 13 of the group of Crohn's patients receiving the wormwood compared to none in the placebo group.

These results strongly suggest that wormwood has a steroid sparing effect, although larger studies are needed. You may want to talk with your doctor and see if there might be a "Sweet Annie" in your future.

Research comments from The Health Resource Newsletter Vol. 23, No.2, 2007.

Science Direct "Steroid-sparing effect of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) in Crohn's disease: A double-blind placebo-controlled study" B. Omera, S. Krebsb, H. Omerc and T.O. Noord