Recently Tanzania announced that it will not import any COVID-19 “vaccine” and will continue to research and use herbs to fight COVID-19. It is natural to be incredulous that a nation with drastically fewer resources than the United States and the rest of the developed Industrial Nations would dare to dismiss a vaccine from them. The states of technology and research capacity of the industrial nations versus to a nation like Tanzania are beyond compare. The only way for Tanzania to be wise to do as they are doing is to assume that it is the actual goals of the Industrial Nations that are in question. The question is one of credibility, not capability.

There is a clear and present reason to question the government of the United States in the issue of Herbs vs. Pharmaceutical chemicals. Cannabis was made illegal for all medical use in 1970 in the Controlled Substances Act, despite millennia – millennia – of historical evidence of use of Cannabis in medicine.

The “magic bullet” approach to Pandemic (given the current management of professional medical institutions) has proven to be a failure at this point. Consider the amount of time and lives lost while we wait for a “vaccine.” How many more viruses could emerge in the future, that could be even worse?

I do not claim that herbs should be the only source of medicine. I believe that we should understand how our immune system works and how to strengthen it with herbs against all diseases, come what may.

The rest of this article will be background on the herb Artemisia which Tanzania and some other African nations have been using.

340 AD. Malaria Site: In 340 AD, the anti-fever properties of qinghao were first described by Ge Hong of the East Yin Dynasty.

1967. Research Gate. President Mao Zedong (China) agreed to set up a secret drug research project, named Project 523, for the discovery of traditional drugs to cure malaria.

1971. Research Gate. Tu Youyou was appointed head of the Project 523 research group at her institute. By 1971, her team had screened over 2,000 traditional Chinese recipes and made 380 herbal extracts which were tested on mice. One of the compounds was proved very effective. It was the plant sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), which was used in the past for “intermittent fevers,” a hallmark of malaria. Tu Youyou discovered that a low-temperature extraction process could be used to isolate (without dissociating the sensitive molecule of Artemisinin) the pure substance. She was not allowed to publish the results, considered as a military secret.

NIH: Youyou’s team called the substance Qinghaosu.  (“Qinghao” is the Chinese name of Artemisia annua L., and “su” means basic element).

1979. Research Gate. Finally, after the death of Mao, scientific publications were allowed. Results were published in the Chinese Medical Journal in 1979 and were met with skepticism at first. In the late 1990s, the well known pharmaceutical company Novartis filed a new Chinese patent for a combination treatment, providing the first artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) at reduced prices to the World Health Organization (WHO). By 2006, Artemisinin had become the treatment of choice for malaria in many countries, proved very effective and its use has saved millions of lives in the developing world.

July, 2005. Identification of natural compounds with antiviral activities against SARS-associated coronavirus: More than 200 Chinese medicinal herb extracts were screened for antiviral activities against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV)… As shown in Fig. 1, four of the extracts, Lycoris radiata, Artemisia annua, Pyrrosia lingua, and Lindera aggregata exhibited significant inhibition effects on virus-induced CPE when SARS-CoV strain BJ001 was used in screening. 

May 04, 2020. News 18: The countries of Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville, and Guinea-Bissau in Africa are importing a herbal tonic from Madagascar which is being dubbed as the cure to coronavirus, even though the World Health Organization has remained firm on its stand that there are no proof of any definite cure yet. The tonic is produced from the artemisia plant, which is one of the sources of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment, reports the BBC. The drink which has been launched as Covid-Organics was being marketed after being tested on fewer than 20 people over a period of three weeks, the Tanzanian president’s chief of staff Lova Hasinirina Ranoromaro told the BBC. Artemisia is cultivated in Cameroon, Kenya,Ethiopia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia – all in high-altitude regions and regions with a pronounced cool period.“The Covid-Organics will be distributed free of charge to our most vulnerable compatriots and sold at very low prices to others. All profits will be donated to IMRA to finance scientific research,” the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, wrote on Twitter.

May 05, 2020. BBC: Africans deserve access to medicines that have gone through proper trials even if they are derived from traditional treatments, it said. Its statement comes as Madagascar’s president is promoting a herbal tonic for treating Covid-19 patients. The African Union (AU) said it wanted to see the scientific data on the “safety and efficacy” of the product.

May 21, 2020. Medical Xpress: A drink made from a bright-green fern-like plant (Artemisia) is being promoted in African countries as the go-to cure for COVID-19. … Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina is the promoter-in-chief of the substance, marketed as Covid-Organics and sold in the form of a herbal infusion.

President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina

June 15, 2020. FDA revokes an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate.

June 24, 2020. Radio France Internationale: Scientists in Germany released data on Wednesday from laboratory tests showing that extracts of the artemisia plant are active against the virus causing Covid-19. The research is separate from claims by Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina about the Covid-Organics herbal tea, but perhaps provides more of a scientific basis for clinical trials and research. … Scientists from the Max Planck Institute in Potsdam worked with the department of virology at the Free University of Berlin to further investigate artemisia.  Extracts were used from specially bred Artemisia annua plants developed and grown by ArtemiLife Inc, a company based in Kentucky, US. The business is already selling ArtemiTea and ArtemiCoffee online, which contains the plant.  Two extracts of artemisia were developed by the researchers, one using distilled water and another ethanol. These were compared against a third, the ethanol extract mixed with coffee, and artemisinin, a derivative compound of the artemisia plant already used as part of combined treatments for malaria.  … The two extracts resulted in less of the virus forming, with the ethanol and coffee found to be the most active. Pure artemisinin on its own did not provide much antiviral activity.  “There is an effect, it is repeatable between laboratories,” said Klaus Osterrieder, who conducted the viral tests at the Free University of Berlin. The research was verified by a second laboratory in Denmark who carried out their own tests to ensure consistency of the results. 

December 18, 2020. Africa News: Tanzania has signalled that it is not intending to use any Covid-19 vaccine but instead will settle on local herbs for protection against the disease. Speaking to the EastAfrican Gerald Chamii, a spokesman at the Ministry of Health said, “There are no plans in place yet of importing vaccine for Covid-19, our health experts and scientists are still researching and undergoing clinical trials for the local herbs for covid-19.”

January 11, 2021. Researchers in the United States have shown that extracts of an aromatic herb called Artemisia annua inhibit the replication of severe acute respiratory coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) – the agent responsible for the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. …researchers at Columbia University in New York, the University of Washington, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have demonstrated that hot-water leaf A. annua extracts based on artemisinin, total flavonoids, or dry leaf mass show antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. … The researchers tested the effects of extracts from seven A. annua cultivars sourced from four different continents on SARS-CoV-2 propagated in Vero E6 cells. They also assessed correlations of antiviral efficacy with artemisinin, total flavonoid contents, and dry leaf mass. All extracts demonstrated anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. … One sample that was obtained in 2008 still exhibited anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity that was comparable to the most recently harvested cultivar samples. This suggests that the active principle is ubiquitous to different A. annua cultivars and is chemically stable during long-term room temperature dry storage, say the researchers.

January 22, 2021. Reuters: Britain is banning all arrivals from Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo from Friday to stop the spread of the South Africa COVID-19 variant, transport secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet on Thursday. “All passengers from these countries except British & Irish Nationals and third country nationals with residents rights will be denied entry,” Shapps wrote in his tweet.