Bad reaction to artemisinin

Dear Stephen,
I have lyme disease and tried artemisinin and had a bad reaction. I took 100mg caps from Allergy Research—200mg the first day divided, the second day 300mgs three times a day and the third day I took 200 together and for vertigo, slurred speech and it transformed into feeling no pain in certain areas, no sweating, heart is erratic, jumpiness from the ears…like a startle response that I got on the second day. What do I do now and why did this happen? I have had lyme for 18 years untreated…and only just started treatment. What can I do to become normal again? I did not think this was a high dose – is this a herx or too much artemisinin? I have not taken it since. Also when I would take a capsule I would get tingling…does this go away? And is it life threatening…MRIs and auditory evoke..ok. Also breathing was messed up in the beginning every time I tried to sleep…my lungs would mess up and they felt heavy…they feel better now…what to do? Thanks.

Stephen’s response:
Artemisinin is a synthetic drug and has more side effects than the plant itself. If you experience side effects, I would recommend not taking it. I generally recommend it ONLY for babesia, so, assuming that that is why you are taking it I would recommend trying cryptolepis instead. It is available from Woodland Essence in NY, 1 tsp 3x daily of the tincture for 10-14 days for babesia. Dose is for a 150 pound person. Normally, babesia should not need to be treated for months and months with artemisinin. If it works it should work within 30 days max. Although cryptolepis has no known side effects or contraindications it is a strong herb and I definitely would not go over 30 days of use.
Over time, as I hear from more and more people who have used artemisinin, I am becoming more circumspect in recommending it. It seems to work for about half the people, others do experience a range of side effects. I think cryptolepis or the whole herb, Artemisia annua, is a better choice.
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posted on December 19, 2006 in artemisinin, babesia, Co-Infections, cryptolepis, Herb Reactions, Herbs, other

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  • Bob Root Dsylvestris)

    September 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I too am having the same stiffing feelings in my lungs. Waking around 0200 am and unable to go back to sleep that night and sometimes until 2200 hours the next evening. Two things 1: have been taking the whole herb artemisinin. 2: Taking a potassium supplement. Those two things have begun just before the current episodes. I have discontinued the Sweet Annua, now after reading this post; but how about the potassium?

    Will report back if the curtailment of Artemisinin remedies the situation. Also, if stopping the Potassium supplement is helpful.


  • admin

    September 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience here, Bob. Will look forward to your update. I hope you are feeling better soon! Best, Julie

  • jen30yearslyme

    November 29, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I took artemisinin for WAY too long i think. I was on 800mg 3x/day, 3 days out of every two weeks, for 6 months. I’ve been in treatment for Lyme for nearly 2 years, one month left of IV antibiotics, but I restarted artemisinin when my doctor was concerned I had stopped. But I sleep constantly on it, and puke for a week after, with hot flashes, bipolar reactions and cold sweats. I haven’t eaten solids since Monday (it’s Saturday) because they come right back up. This is my third round back on it, and my last. I flipped out on my family tonight, and my husband said you JUST did this two weeks ago, what’s wrong with you! Ahhhh…. art. I was infected at age 5 and diagnosed 30years later. So it is severe, but I can’t go from feeling almost better to being back in bed like this. I’ll have the red dots forever, but until I’m done with my other treatments, I won’t know what is the drug and what is the disease. I think as you get closer to health, the drugs do more harm than good. Thank you for this thread. It helped me not feel completely crazy about this drug!

  • sanjay jadhav

    May 31, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Dear Sir
    My son’s the follow up in Tata H. Hospital is continue.My family & I fully tension for my son’s health,I already spent more than Rs.fifteen lakhs on treatment.Total 18 chemoes & two major opreations done.First on his right leg ,kept rod inside & second on his right lung ,removing 30% of his lung.On 8 July 2015 again Doctor done RFA(Radio Frequncy Ablation) on his right lung.
    Dear Sir,I am 56 yrs old.

    Now on 7 April 2016 again cancer tumor found on his right side lung,where Doctor done operation,we all are in tension,as Doctor told that they can not do again operation or chemotherapy,so please,suggest any medicine,for my son,s treatment.So I am waiting for your reply Now can not sleep ,at night,crying due to cuffing.He is 15 yrs.old.His Tata Hospital File No.CK/15682.Please advice.I know that he is cuffing due to tumor is on right lung,Last 3 years he is taking treatment.Now Hospital stop his treatment,so we started him a cow urine therapy..Now my son is living in Mysore in India..I am waiting for reply.I wan to give my son,medicines which from Dandelion plant & Artemisinin & where it will get in India.I am waiting for reply.How this medicine will take per day.
    Sanjay Jadhav

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