Artemisinin is a chemical compound contained in the plant named Artemisia annua, (Wormwood, Sweet annie, Sweet sagewort) that grows in the continental climate, mostly used as antimalarial medicine. Artemisinin derivatives include dihydroartemisinin, artesunate and artemether.
Cancer cells require and uptake a large amount of iron to proliferate. They are more susceptible to the cytotoxic effect of artemisinin than normal cells.
Artemisinin reacts with iron in the cell to form free radicals which than kills the cell it contains.