Madam Tu Youyou, an 84 year old Chinese Pharmacologist has been awarded the Nobel Medicine Prize for her work on the development of artemisinin, a plant derivative that has significantly reduced death rates from malaria.
Madam Tu undertook the task of extensively researching the historical text books of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, where she remembered having seen references to Herbal substances which treated what is called “Malaria” in Western Medicine.
In a text called The Manual of Clinical Practice and Emergency Remedies by Ge Hong dating from the East Jin Dynasty (265 to 420 AD), she and her colleagues found mention of Qing Hao (Artemisia annua) – being used to treat malaria. This is the plant from which artemisinin was derived.
Qing Hao is part of the Chinese Medicine pharmacopoeia taught at the ICTCM and is still used by TCM Herbal Practitioners today.
Drugs based on Artemisinin are now routinely used in the fight against malaria, which still kills half a million people a year. We congratulate Madam Tu on her pioneering work, being the first expert in Chinese traditional medicine to be awarded a Nobel prize.
The illustration describing Madam Tu’s work was displayed during the press conference announcing the winners of the Nobel Medicine Prize.