Materia Medica, Pharmacology & Bio-Prospecting

Huang Hua Hao at Hong Kong Baptist Unversity (HKBU)

The term qing hao refers to the Chinese herbal drug derived from Artemisia annua L. (huang hua hao) but it is also the Chinese name for the plant, Artemisia carvidolia which is a different species from Artemisia annua L... This image shows a dried portion of Artemisia annua L. that could be distinguished from other plants based on its unique characteristics. This plant grows in wastelands. It is under the category of whole herbs and is produced in all Chinese provinces. The plant was first identified by Li Shizhen in the Compendium of Materia Medica. This specific plant was later popularized by Tu Youyou who used it as a key element in her research for curing malaria. The scientific name of the plant is Artemisia annua L. which belongs to the plant family of Asteraceae. Hong Kong Baptist University provides a broad but colored picture of sweet wormwood. The picture distinguishes the stem surface from the numerous small flower heads. The stem is cylindrical (30~80cm long, 0.2~0.6cm diameter) and has longitudinal ridges which are shown in the upper portion of the image. They typically have a yellowish-green or brownish-yellow color. The leaves are usually dark green or brownish-green. Characteristics of the superior medicinal material contain green color, multiple leaves, and a strong smell. Some functions of the plant include, clearing deficiency heat, cooling blood, eliminating steam and interrupting malaria.


Unknown Author. 2018. “Editorial.” Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences 5, no. 1: 3.
Hsu, Elisabeth. 2006. “The History of Qing Hao in the Chinese Materia Medica.” Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 100, no. 6: 505–8.
“青蒿.” Chinese Medicinal Material Images Database. Accessed June 7, 2021.

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