New drug for parasitic diseases comes from TCM herbs

CNN reported today that three scientists will share the Nobel prize for their work with parasitic diseases, specifically those caused by roundworms. 

"The disease was traditionally treated by chloroquine or quinine, but by the late 1960s, efforts to eradicate malaria had failed and the disease was on the rise, the assembly said.

So Tu turned to traditional herbal medicine to try to tackle the disease. Using the plant Artemisia annua, she discovered a purification procedure that rendered an active agent called Artemisinin, the Nobel Assembly said."

Interestingly, this "new" active agent, extracted from Artemisia Annua (known as qing hao) has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for malaria, high fevers, and bleeding.