Artemisinin – when cancer cells kill themselves

What if you had an herbal extract that could fight cancer safely even in those animals who were very sick and old?

Artemisinin is the second most common herbal I use to fight cancer in animals and it is extremely safe in almost all cases.

Artemisinin is an extract from the herb sweet wormwood and was originally used to treat malaria. It is currently under study by Dr. Henry Lai at the University of Washington for its effects against cancer, especially breast and bone cancer.

So how does it work?

Cancer cells take up more iron then normal cells. Artemisinin is attracted to these high iron cells and selectively goes to them. Once inside the cancer cells it reacts with the iron causing free radial formation which kills the cancer cells.

Also see
UW licenses potential cancer treatment derived from ancient Chinese folk remedy
Ancient Chinese remedy shows potential in preventing breast cancer

K9 health support also has a great page with links to articles and research on Artemisinin
Dog Cancer Treatment Options

Because it selects for these cells with high iron it is very safe to use in all cases but one. If your animal is undergoing radiation you must not use this herbal. Radiation blasts cancer cells, which spreads their iron into neighboring cells. In this case, Artemisinin can hurt the normal cells as well. If your animal is undergoing radiation you must wait a month after the last treatment of radiation to use this.

I have found Artemisinin to be very impressive for keeping tumor growth in check and for preventing spread of cancer in my animal patients. While I usually use it in combination with other herbals I have had some cases where I have used just this herbal and nothing else.

I find it works best against bone cancers, squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcoma and lymphoma. However I have used it for a number of other tumors as well. When using Chinese Medicine classification this herbal works better against the phlegm nodule tumors. This is also an herbal which may be effective for brain cancers.

I have yet to see a side effect from this herbal beyond that its antibacterial effects can make bad breath better. In fact I occasionally use this for animals with very bad breath who are too ill for dental work.

I dose Artemisinin at 50mg twice a day for cats and dogs under 30 pounds. Dogs over 30 pounds receive 100mg twice a day. Dogs over 100 pounds receive 200mg twice a day. I recommend the online company Holley Pharmacy for purchasing Artemisinin. I have found their customer service to be good, their product to work, and they usually have a special of some sort going.

The studies have shown that Artemisinin works best if there is a break from it every two weeks. I recommend that this herbal is giving for 11 days then stopped for three and then restarted in 11 days on, 3 days off cycles.

As with everything, please check with your animal’s vet before using this product.

Return to Integrative and Holistic Methods for Treating Cancer in Cats and Dogs.

Comments are closed on this article please refer to the link above to find more articles about cancer and how to find a holistic practitioner near you.

73 Responses to “Artemisinin – when cancer cells kill themselves”

  1. Misty brown Says:

    Hi Doctor,
    I sure wish you lived near us :)

    I got some artemisinin to give my cat. He is 12 years old – he lost a leg to bone cancer 1.5 yrs ago. Cancer has reappeared on his left rib (bulging out). It has been growing since January. The vet said that surgery would likely not be useful and also very expensive. The cat is eating well and seems otherwise healthy!

    My question is – how to give him artemisinin without meat/iron! It is bitter tasting. The capsule seems too big to shove down his throat. Any tips on how to get him to take it?
    It is our last resort.


  2. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Misty,
    There is a lot of debate about if it should be given with meat or iron. I am fine with it being given with food. If he will eat it with food that is great, you can open the capsule and give him the powder mixed in. The 50mg can also be pushed down his throat, it shouldn’t be too big. You can also open it and mix with water and then syringe it into his mouth that way. Or if he has a favorite thing like tuna water you can also try mixing it with that. There are also some pharmacies that will compound it into a liquid.

    Hope one of these works.
    best wishes,

  3. Misty brown Says:

    Thanks so much for the reply. The tuna water is a good idea too.
    I guess if he has terminal cancer, giving with iron may not be the end of the world.
    I know his chances are not good, but we are doing what we can.

    Thanks again,

  4. Mindy Says:

    Hi, I am researching options for my 15 yo cat Orie, who has squamous cell carcinoma under the skin on her cheek and under her ear. The surgery they recommend would be very extensive and they don’t think it would be curative without radiation also. Orie hates going to the vet and I am hesitant to put her through that much additional treatment, especially such a major surgery. She also has stage 2 renal failure, although her BUN and creatine levels improved from Jan when we got the diagnosis to a couple weeks ago when the oncologist did new bloodwork and now her levels are just the high end of normal she said. Anyway, I am wondering if artemisinin would be safe for her kidneys and if it might be a good thing to try for her tumors. The oncologist also mentioned a newer drug called Palladia(?). I just don’t know what to do, I don’t want to give up on her, but also don’t want to push her through extensive, traumatizing treatments that won’t really work and will just make her miserable for the rest of what might be her short life.

  5. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Mindy,
    Squamous cell is always a hard diagnosis. I have used artemisinin in animals with renal insufficiency and consider it to be safe. I had one little dog who we used just artemisinin for sqaumous cell in his mouth and he had good quality life for over a year.

    My assistant Diane who helps me in my acupuncture practice learned about seven months ago that her sister’s cat had squamous cell carcinoma. This cat’s vet put her on Palladia and last I checked she was doing really well, tolerating it well and that the tumor was smaller. I haven’t used it myself but it seems like it might be a good choice.

    It sounds like the surgery and radiation would be a lot to go through for a 15 year old. I would worry that the anesthesia used for both might be too much for her kidneys if they are borderline, not to mention recovery.

    Personally if she was my cat I would probably lean towards doing the Palladia and artemisinin. I would check with your vet on if the Palladia is safe with kidney issues as I am unsure about that. Also don’t forget pain meds if she needs them. Pain control is very important with this cancer.

    You have a lot of hard decisions to make. It is never easy. I hope that she is able to have more quality time here with you.

    best wishes,

  6. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Mindy,
    I just checked in with Diane this morning about her sister’s cat on Palladia. She is still doing very well on it and the tumor has stayed very small the whole time.
    best wishes,

  7. Roammie Ko Says:

    Thank you for sharing your expertise and knowledge.
    My 7 yo male cat is dx with colon cancer with tumor close to
    the rectal area. It is very difficult to watch him straining with
    no poo. Surgery outcome was not promising so we just did
    laser therapy to try to shrink the tumor. No significant progress so far.
    I just learned abut artemisinin from a holistic pet store.
    I was ambivalent about using it but I am encouraged now
    after reading up more about it and reading your web page.
    Thank you for suggesting the dosage.


  8. Edie Says:

    Hi, Dr. McCullough.
    Our Australian Shepherd, Sassie, was diagnosed today with osteosarcoma. She’s 14 next month, a little over 30 pounds and had just begun to favor her left hind leg. The growth is below her knee and has definitely weakened the bone. They took a chest x-ray and it has not metastisized to the ribs or lungs. The vet gave us two meds, Rimadyl 75 mg (1/2 two times a day) and Tramadol Tabs 50 mg (2 a day). Up to this point the only meds she has had is her once a month heartworm. I have given her a protein shake (about 4 oz.) with 12 alfalfa tabs every day.

    I’ve ordered the Artemin100 from Holley Pharmaceuticals. When they arrive should I discontinue use of any of the meds or protein & alfalfa shake?

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of a holistic vet near us. So, from reading your article and your responses I trust your judgment. Your help is greatly appreciated.


  9. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Edie,
    I’m sorry about Sassie’s diagnosis. Most of the dogs I treat are on a combination of pain meds including Rimadyl and Tramadol. Often times if the pain gets great we will also add in a drug called Gabapentin. It may be sometime to ask your vet about if she reaches that point. I consider pain meds a most, if amputation is not possible, for any type of bone cancer and I use them with Artemisinin in the animals I treat. There should not be any interacts between Artemisinin and protein shakes and alfalfa.
    best wishes,

  10. Barbara and Zola Says:

    hello Lena, since I contacted you last Zola has been doing very well and our holistic vet is very pleased with her progress.She is maintaing a good weight ,has a good appetitie and is generally full of beans. However two days ago I noticed she was favouring a front leg ,Ive just had a good look/feel at it and although there is nothing obvious ,I can feel a slight thickening above the knee on the outside of the leg, it dosnt feel hard . Ive been reading about Artemisin,would this be a good place to start this herb ,could i use the 5:1 concentrate powder (Qing Hao ) (herba Artemisiae Annuae) along with the other powdered herbs she has.Also have you used Yuan Hu Suo for pain control, I dont think she is in much pain but the fact that she is limping somewhat would indicate some.?
    Thanks ,as always, for any input you can make.
    Regards, Barbara and Zola

  11. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I am glad she is still doing well. If you haven’t you may want to run Zola by your vet just to get their opinion if this lump is cancer, or a benign tumor or a soft tissue injury. Usually if it is cancer in the bone it will feel hard and connected to the bone however there can sometimes be soft tissue swelling over a bone tumor. I like Artemisinin a lot for any dog or cat with cancer and commonly use it (unless there radiation treatments are being done). I have always used the Holley Pharmacy product linked to in this article – I’ve found them an easy company to work with and their product works well. I assume the powder would be similar but don’t have any experience with it myself.

    I have used Yan Hu Suo to control pain. It is not as strong as the western pain drugs IMO and experience but sometimes I use it as an add on for severe pain and definitely use it for dogs with milder pain alone or combined with other herbs. Most of the arthritic dogs I treat are on a formula which includes it.

    best wishes,

  12. Barbara and Zola Says:

    Hi Lena, I’ll have a word with my referral (holistic vet) and see what he says. The primary vet is a non holistic vet, I suspect they will want to x ray. I really didnt want to go down the route of more radiation and more anasthetics as she has had so much the past year.
    Ive noticed she has soemthing similar on a back leg below the hock, its a thickening in the skin in this one,she has other very jelly like lumps like this, one on the chest one on a rib .

  13. natalie Says:

    Hi Lena, Thanks for sharing your knowledge via this website and your comments.
    I just received Artemisinin from Holley today. My 11 year old cat MoeMoe has a huge, fast-growing brain tumor that was found on Monday with a CT scan. The vet put her on Prednisone. He recommended very expensive surgery and radiation, but had a poor prognosis even if we were to do that. I am not going that route.
    I will start the 50 mg artemisinin 2x daily. Is it okay taken with Prednisone?
    What about putting the artemix gel or artemisinin gel from on the tumor? Her head is swelled where it is.
    I don’t have much hope for her but am willing to try some things. I have also ordered naltrexone in order to try the Low Dose Naltrexone therapy.
    I would love to hear any experience or knowledge you may have to give me about this. Many Thanks!

  14. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I have used artemisinin in a number of animals that are on prednisone and have never had any problems with interactions between the two. I do not think the topical form would help by putting it on her head as the swelling is probably inside the brain and you would be putting it on outside of the her skull. I believe the topical form is not made to put directly on a tumor but is a transdermal way of getting it into the body when an animal can not be pilled. I’ve used it in rabbits before.

    I have not had any experience with naltrexone, nor have I seen it used in animals. My understanding is that it is a drug mostly to treat chemical dependency in humans. Is it something your oncologist was recommending? Did they have a rational for using it?

    I think the most important thing is to keep her as happy as you can. If the medications become too much for her (I’ve seen some cats that can not handle more than one or two things) then I would consider stopping things in order that she can have good quality as long as she is here. If you have a vet acupuncturist in your area that would be another option to see if you can increase her comfort without adding more medication.

    best wishes,

  15. natalie Says:

    Hi Lena, thanks so much for taking the time to reply.
    We tried putting the artemisinin in her food today and she would not eat it. I am highly resistant to scruffing her and forcing the pill down her throat, as we have had to do that a lot lately and she is very strong, plus she has swelling in that area and I think it would hurt her to scruff and force the pill down. She will eat the prednisone in her food though.
    Do you know the difference between the artemisinin gel and artimex gel on’s site? I will try that if it is okay to use on cats.
    I read about LDN therapy online, and found a forum with information about pets and LDN therapy. Yes, it is a drug for opiate addiction, but there has been some success in using it in low doses for MS, cancer, and other diseases. The dose (for pets or people) is .03 mg per pound of body weight. I am afraid we will have the same problem with not being able to get her to take it, I have read it is very bitter. I don’t want to just give up, though!
    I am doing all of this on my own – the 2 vets I have seen both have no other recommendations than to keep her comfortable with prednisone and eventual pain meds if necessary.
    I am frustrated with this situation as I have put a lot of effort into feeding the right foods to my pets, I did not expect this to happen. I feed grain-free store bought food and she has only had filtered water for many years now. We don’t allow our pets to eat very much either, they get fed twice daily. I know raw fresh food is the best option, but would require a lot of effort that I am not sure I am committed to doing. Now that this has happened I am rethinking everything, however. We have other pets we love. Do you have a brand of pet food that you recommend that is accessible to someone in NC? Thank you Lena!

  16. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Did you try opening the capsule and putting the powder inside on her food? That may be an option. The artimex gel has a couple other derivatives of artemisinin, I have never used them. The artemisinin gel is just artemisinin which is the only one I have used. Although I doubt it will be a problem in her case, both are high in parabens which mimic estrogens and may induce cancer.

    Nature’s Variety has a raw which should be available everywhere. . I think no matter what you do there is still a high risk of cancer in our animals (and in us). We live in an environment with a lot of toxins that we do not have control of. One thing to look at if you are feeding canned food is the BPA in the cans – Weruva I believe is one of the only canned foods on the market without BPA.

    If you haven’t found it, IVAS has a nice tool for finding a vet acupuncturist in your area Many of these vets also have herbal knowledge.

    best wishes,

  17. natalie Says:

    Thank you very much Lena! Happy Thanksgiving :) Warmly, Natalie

  18. Jenny Says:

    Hi Lena. I have an 11 yr old australian shepherd who has been undergoing treatment for lymphoma since July. His last treatment is Dec 20 (just 2 more wks!). In the words of his vets, he’s responded extremely well, and they don’t usually do this good. I give him milk thistle, fish oil, famotidine, and l-arginine every day, along with a NuVet vitamin and Pet Health OPC (antioxidants). My question is, what should I give him after he’s finished with treatment? I was considering starting the artemisinin. Do you think he’d benefit from it? The chemo has provided a bit of a security blanket since I feel like any cells that arise are then obliterated after the next treatment. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  19. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Jenny,
    I usually keep my chemo dogs on both artemisinin and sanshedan after chemo stops. I also recommend people follow up with acupuncture a couple times a month. This seems to be the best way to keep them in remission. Sometimes we will do other herbals if the chemo has left them very deficient. Usually I do not do Hoxsey unless they come out of remission or if I feel like they have a lot of damp heat (inflammation) still in their body. That is great that he has done so well! I hope he has may more years ahead.
    best wishes,

  20. Jenny Says:

    Thanks so much. I’ll look into both artemisinin and sanshedan, and maybe I can find someone nearby who does accupuncture. I’ve read that the fish oil and arginine may extend remission times, so I was planning to keep him on both of those. I’m undecided on the milk thistle. Being an older dog, maybe he needs the additional liver support. I was using it as added protection from the chemo. One more question – are there any herbal/drug interactions to consider with either the artemisinin or sanshedan? I too hope that he has many happy years. I know what the statistics say about remission times, but I also believe in the power of positive thinking!

  21. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Jenny,
    Here is a tool to find an acupuncturist in your area , it does not list all vet acupuncturists only those IVAS or Chi certified so you may find someone also by asking around at your local pet food store or western vet. Artemisinin should not ever be used with radiation (not a drug) but besides that I consider it safe to use with western drugs. Sanshedan I have used with many, many drugs without any interactions, I also consider it safe with western drugs. I would consider leaving him on the milk thistle at least for a couple months to help with chemo recovery, then I see no harm in continuing it but he also may not need it if he his doing well. I just realized you were commending from the artemisinin article, if you haven’t seen it here is my article on lymphoma .
    best wishes,

  22. Eric Says:

    Hi Lena, we have a 9 yr old English Springer Spaniel with anal sac carcinoma too large to remove and spread to local lymph nodes. Just finishing palliative radiation tmrw 12/9. He’s also on Poly MVA, vacustatin, K9 Critical Care and Trans Factor, dandelion/milk thistle, and liver-gallbladder drops. I know we must wait at least 1 month to start artemisinin orally but how bout using the gel from Allergy Research Group on the exposed portion of the tumor? Also, should I stop the vacustatin due to its anti-angiogenic effect, once we start artemisinin?
    Thanks so much

  23. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Eric,
    I would not use the artemisinin gel as there is absorption into systemic circulation. I have had no experience with bindweed before but I would not imagine there would be an interaction with the artemisinin with it. While I don’t have an article on anal sac carcinomas up I treat them very similarly to lymphoma so there may be something helpful in this article.
    best wishes,

  24. Eric Says:

    Hi Lena, thank you for your quick response. Do you mean do not use the gel at all or just not until a month after radiation? And then should I use both the gel and oral or just the oral?
    Thanks very much.

  25. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Eric,
    I usually do not use the gel unless I have an animal I can not pill – like some of the rabbits I work with and then I use it instead of the pills.

  26. sharon kinsey Says:


    Okay I have collected the following:

    Artemisinin 100 mg

    Hepasunate 50 mg

    K9 Plus wafers

    GNC Ultra Mega Superfood Complex

    Meeker Rasperry powder (waiting on it – not here yet)

    So – now trying to figure out what to give whom and how much

    Bailey is the one with the amputated leg – he has not yet started chemo – he weighs 80 #

    Bongo cannot have surgery – started radiation therapy – he weighs #116

    I know that Arte cannot be given while undergoing radiation – same with Hepasunate?

    Any recommendations greatly appreciated. Bongo is also on Tramadol 50 – 4 tabs every 8 hours; Carprofen 100 1 every 12 hours; and Gabapentin 600 1/2 tab every 8 hours

    Thank you again


  27. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Sharon,
    I moved your comment back to the forums so that it is more continuous. Hope you saw my reply from before.
    best wishes,

  28. Doryan Says:

    Dr. McCullough, Can artemisinin be used for a dog with a 2nd degree AV heart block? I did write Dr. Lai and he said arte can affect the electrical activity of the heart, so this worries me.



  29. Lena Says:

    Hi Doryan,
    I have used artemisinin with a number of dogs with heart issues and never seen a problem with it. In Chinese medicine terms most heart disease in humans is from heart qi deficiency. In animals this is not true, it is more of a blood stagnation in the heart. Because of this I would see no issues with using it as artemisinin’s bitter qualities should if anything improve the stagnation. Herbals are always difficult because there are not very many studies out there on them but artemisinin has been studied more than most. It is used quite often in the veterinary community and I have never heard of any other veterinarians recommending against using it in cats or dogs with heart disease of any sort. So to make this long answer short, I do not hesitate to use it in my patients with heart disease and would not hesitate to use it in a dog with a AV block.

  30. Doryan Says:

    Dr. McCullough, Thanks for your reply. I forgot to mention that my dog has been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Oncology vet recommended no treatment at this time. He is getting Cell Forte IP-6 and I was thinking of trying the artemisinin until Dr. Lai write me and mentioned it affecting the electrical activity of the heart. Sounds like you are okay with giving it, though. I even asked Dr. Woodfield, cardio vet, but he did not give a definite answer. I do have an appt. with you this Friday, so I’m hopeful for more info and a definite plan for my dog.



  31. Doryan Says:

    Dr. McCullough, Can Standard Process Spleen formula or Spleen Activator- help with an enlarged spleen? X-rays showed my dog has an enlarged spleen, probably from the high amount of lymphocytes in his blood.

    thank you,


  32. Lena Says:

    Hi Doryan,
    I really have not used the Standard process formulas much, preferring using herbals instead. I just find that herbals work best for cancer, at least in my hands. If I am seeing you on Friday I will probably be able to give you better information after I have met your dog and talked about his history. I usually try to focus on 3-5 really good herbals/supplements for cancer instead of adding in other unknowns.
    best wishes,

  33. Dave S Says:

    Hi Dr. McCullough, I’m writing from Portugal, my cat is 9 years old and 3 years ago diagnosed with fibrosarcoma on the side of his body in the region of the ribs, meanwhile he has been several times operated and now have decided to give him c-caps twice a day plus omega 3 tablets once a day and a multi vitamin supplement. we have first given him artemicinin but he lost appetite and refuse drinking. on the 13th of September he has been again operated and doing fine but according to the lab results the fibrosarcoma is of an aggressive nature and going deep into the muscular tissue. we would like to start again treating him with artemicinin twice a day but are afraid he will stop eating and drinking again. can you please advise? Thank you so much, Dave

  34. Lena Says:

    Hi Dave,
    Fibrosarcoma is a hard on because it is so aggressive and cats are hard because they are so sensitive to drugs and herbals. If the artemisinin made him sick the first time around I would not give it. I did have one cat I treated that we were able to successfully keep fibrosarcoma from coming back with acupuncture, mushrooms and Sanshedan Chuanbeiye. After two years of treatment, it had not returned and we stopped all supplements and the acupuncture. They were able to find a compounding pharmacy that made both the supplements into a topical transdermal that they could apply to her ear. There is also a transdermal artemisinin that I have seen sold, that my be less of an issue because it is not going into his GI tract. I don’t know if there are alot of holistic vets in Portugal but I was able to find this one on the IVAS website . They may be able to be of help.
    best wishes,

  35. Dave S Says:

    Hi Lena thank you so much for coming back. when we gave our cat artemisinin he stopped eating and drinking but wasn’t feeling sick, do you think we should try once more and check whether this time he would stand the treatment? of course if he stops again eating and drinking we will then put a hold on it and try the gel. up till today and already for a month of so we have been giving him C-caps that some sites say it helps fight cancer cells, could this be true?
    Thank you for your advise so far.

  36. Lena Says:

    Antioxidants such as vit C definitely have some ability to fight cancer. I don’t use a lot of vits and use more herbs. There is nothing wrong with doing the antioxidants and vits just I have found the herbals work better. As far as trying the artemisinin, it depends how convinced you are that it was what made her stop eating and drinking and how long that lasted, if it was just a day I wouldn’t be as worried about trying it again. If it hit her appetite/drinking for much longer I would probably not do it again.

  37. David S Says:

    Hi Lena, thank you so much for your reply. We tried 2 days and Darky (that’s his name and it’s a he lol) stopped eating and drinking, we wanted to give him at least for 5 days in a row but didn’t work out, we will try again and see how he behaves this time. I have meanwhile sent an e-mail to the link you sent me in Portugal and hopefully will get a reaction from this local vet. Thank you so much for your help so far.
    Kind regards,

  38. Vuthy Says:

    Thank you so much for this information. I had never heard of artemisinin before until I started doing some research for ways to relieve my dog’s pain and slow down her bone cancer. There’s a lot of very positive research out there and I even found some expired patents from the 80s for its use in treating skin cancer.

    Our dog is 57-lbs and has bone cancer in her right shoulder. I was told that there seems to be signs of calcification in her chest also. She is on prednisone now and we have 50mg tablets of tramadol. We give her 1 – 2 tabelts every 4 hours as needed to help her pain. Sometimes it does seem to help (and in those cases, she seems like her normal self) yet sometimes she’s restless and panting. I hope we have the strength and wisdom to recognize when it’s time to let go, but for now, we are focused on keeping her as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. I’m giving her two 100-mg tablets of artemisinin at night stuffed into iron-free cheese cubes. It’s been 4 nights of it now. I don’t know if it’s doing anything. I know it’s early. Would it be best to give her 100mg in the mornings 100mg at night? I’m also thinking of mixing in the powder with some coconut oil and rubbing it gently into her affected shoulder (which is swollen and a bit deformed but not as much as it was before she got on the prednisone).

    Penny is almost 11 and we’re not intent on saving her or trying everything out there. She would not be happy with that. But if this can give us more time with her, we’re willing to try it. Thank you.

  39. Lena Says:

    Hi Vuthy,
    I’m sorry about Penny’s diagnosis, bone cancer is always difficult. If you haven’t already read these two articles you may find them helpful. I don’t know if amputation is an option with Penny or not.
    If you have access to a holistic vet in your area, acupuncture may be very helpful to deal with Penny’s pain. Many western vets I work with also add in gabapentin for pain control.
    From my experience with artemisinin it helps to slow the cancer but does not reverse it in the bone cancer cases I have used it in so I would not expect things to get better with it alone but would expect to slow the cancer’s progression. I have always used it twice a day in dogs with a 11 day on, 3 day off protocol but I know others use different protocols. I would not rub anything into the shoulder with the cancer as manipulation of the cancer can make it spread faster. There are occasional herbals I will use topically for certain cancers but I don’t use those would bone cancer. I am cautious to not stimulate the primary tumor in bone cancer.

    Hope this is helpful
    best wishes,

  40. Vuthy Says:

    Hi Lena, thank you so much for the response. We had considered amputation but were advised that where it is located in her shoulder, and the fact that there are signs of it already spreading, the stress and trauma of amputation would outweigh any benefits. You are right about the topical application. I did not consider the fact that massage could increase blood circulation to the area and promote tumor growth. I know massage is often used for its therapeutic benefits, but I do not want any of those “benefits” in this area.

    Penny seems to be in pain about 40% of the time despite the prednisone and tramadol. I will be asking our vet about the gabapentin on Monday. If we cannot relieve her pain, we will have to let her go. Knowing that her bone is being torn up and destroyed from the inside out is devastating. It must hurt so bad. Even though she is lively and alert when she’s not in pain, there are more and more bad days than good lately. If the gabapentin helps, we’ll continue with it and the artemisinin until it really is time. Thank you again.

  41. danielle Says:

    Hi, my name is danielle. I have a 13 yr old lab named Sydney. We jus got back from the vet and I can’t really afford to spend a ton of money, but the vet said her liver enzymes were real high. And took xrays and there is a tumor on her liver. We don’t know if it is cancerous, but she is on liver medication and antibiotics. My question is what could I do to prolong her life. As far as artemisinin, should I get this and start using it? And what else is there I could start using? Thanku very much and appreciate Ur time.

  42. Lena Says:

    You may find this article helpful . I would highly recommend finding a holistic vet in your area to consult with on what would be best for Sydney.

  43. Cheryl Says:

    Hi Dr. Lena. My cat Timmy has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth (inner portion of left cheek next to left upper molar spreading into tissue surrounding left upper molar. Molar was removed at time of dentistry & biopsy). I have started him on Artemisinin 50mg 1xday (Holley Pharm). I’ve read about time-released Artemix (….. Do you have any experience with their product?…. I found the swelling in the inner cheek by accident. I was checking him to see if he needed a dentistry. At that point he had no outward symptoms. (No drooling, no dropping food, no difficulty eating, no swelling of the face, etc.) Does finding it “early” give him any type of advantage with this type of cancer? …. Thank you . Cheryl (& Timmy)

  44. Lena Says:

    Hi Cheryl,
    I haven’t used the Artemix before, just the Holley Pharmacy product. I have tended to stick with that since it is what Henry Li at University of Washington uses. I imagine other formulations would also work but just haven’t had the experience with them. And yes I do think the earlier you can catch cancer the better the prognosis. I had one little dog we catch it very early in who lived for over a year with just artemisinin and as needed antibiotics and pain meds (with good quality life). If you haven’t found this article, , it may be helpful also. Best wishes to you and Timmy

  45. David S Says:

    Hi Dr. Lena, when you mention “I dose Artemisinin at 50mg twice a day for cats and dogs under 25 pounds” on the upper page, do you mean 50mg in the morning and 50mg in the evening or 50mg divided in 2 doses one of 25mg in the morning and 25mg in the evening? I’m giving him a total of 100mg per day (2x 50mg) at this moment is this ok or too much? thanks for your help. He’s lost his appetite and doesn’t drink too we have to force him to drink as he won’t drink or eat by himself. Also have notest the swelling on his back has become smaller, one way or the other the artemisinin seems to work. Can you please answer my queries as I’m a bit worried, thank you. David S

  46. Lena Says:

    Hi Dave,
    I use 50mg in the morning and 50mg in the evening in most of the cats I treat, so what you are currently giving. However if that is too high a dose, I have used once a day dosage – so just 50mg a day. If he is not eating and drinking on his own then something is clearly not working well for him. Usually in that cause I recommend folks stop everything for a few days until appetite is back and then move back in one thing at a time starting at a lower dose and slowly moving up. Even if the artemisinin is shrinking the tumor, he is not going to do well if he is not eating or drinking. If that continues for more than a couple days I would definitely take him into your veterinarian.

  47. Wendy Says:

    Hi Dr. McCullough,
    Do you know if artemisinin would work well for adenocarcinoma? Our 12 year old husky has this type of cancer in her nasal passage and it has grown out and is pushing down on her soft palate.
    Thank you,
    Wendy (& Timber)

  48. David S Says:

    Hi Dr. Lena, I just gave Darky our cat the artemisinin so will stop starting from 2morrow morning and wait till he starts on his own eating and drinking again before I restart with artemisinin. Meanwhile I contacted the holistic physician you sent me the address in Portugal and he came to my address last week for an acupuncture session, well that wasn’t a success as Darky kept on moving and most needles felt out, the doctor tried once more but again no success, the doctor is coming again 2morrow to try it once more I hope this time works. We started on the 23rd October with artemisinin and gave Darky 2x 50mg up till tonite (6 days) he only stopped eating and drinking on his own from around the 25th October meaning 4 days being helped concerning eating and drinking but only little bits as we were afraid he would vomite as he feels nauseous all the time this caused by the effect of the artesiminin. We hope he gains appetite and starts drinking as soon as possible specially drinking as we don’t want any damage to his kidneys. I must say the artemisinin has helped what concerns the tumor as it shrunk quite a bit, i’m only afraid that will grow again during the period that he’s not taking the artemisinin. I wanted to follow your advise for 11 days treatment followed by 3 days rest but Darky can’t hold that long unfortunately. Dave S

  49. Lena Says:

    Hi Wendy,
    I have used it for adenocarcinoma before usually in combo with other herbals and acupuncture and have been able to slow cancer. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang can also be beneficial for nasal adenocarcinoma from my experience.
    best wishes,

  50. Lena Says:

    It may be a fine dance of getting the artemisinin to a dosage that helps to shrink the tumor but doesn’t make him sick. That may be a four days on, three day off schedule or an every other day schedule or it may be that once a day doesn’t make him sick and helps to control the tumor. We certainly don’t want to shrink the tumor but have his kidneys fail or have him feel sick all the time.

  51. David S Says:

    Hi Dr Lena, yes i think this is what we might do: try as many days artesiminin as darky can stand without affecting him and giving him free days to rest and gain his appetite and drink lust again and start all over again. Thank you for your advise it’s much appreciated. David S

  52. Traci Says:

    Dr. Lena, I have a chocolate lab, who at 3 years old (2 months ago) was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the neck. I took her to Cornell and due to the size and location was told there is nothing we can do. She was given pain meds with an expectation of 2 weeks to 2 months to live. Sadie, just turned 4 yesterday. I did some research online because I cannot sit and do nothing. I found the article by Dr. Lai and Dr. Singh about the artemesin and a number of other articles about this herb. It appears that the dosage seems to be different with everything I’ve read. Here is what I did. I put her on Wellness brand dog food, type Core – grain free Salmon based. I have her on Vetri DMG for her immune system, Probiotics, and NuVet Plus Canine Daily Supplement. I read that it is best to serve the artemesin about 3 hours after eating (with yogurt or cottage cheese) so it is on an empty stomach. I’ve given her 100 mg in the morning and 100 mg before she goes to bed each with yogurt. I’ve done this now for 12 days (today is the 12th day). The tumor has shrunk noticeably and she has had no problems eating or defacating. Her spirit is up and she has some pep in her step. I thought I was going to have to put her down 2 weeks ago. There are no holistic vets around here so I am trying to figure this out myself. I landed on your page and have found some hope. My question is do you have any other suggestions for adding anything else to the mix? I am reluctant to take her off the artemesinin for a few days but wonder if this is really what I should do. Why do you think a couple of days off the artemesinin is a good thing? Any suggestion would be helpful since I absolutely have nothing to lose. Thank you. Traci

  53. Lena Says:

    Hi Traci,
    I am so sorry that she is having to deal with this at such a young age. That sounds very hopefully that you have seen tumor shrinkage with the artemisinin already. It was actually at the suggestion of Dr. Lai (through a conversation one of the technicians working with me had with him) that I went to the 11 days on 3 days off protocol. He had found that it comes back working stronger and will work better for longer if occasional breaks are taken. If you are worried about it you could do a 1-2 days off protocol for the first break and see how that goes. I don’t know if you already found this article as well, but if you haven’t it may be helpful. Some herbals you may want to look into would be Sanshedan Chuanbeiye, which helps to keep cancer out of the lungs, Hoxsey make be helpful but I would hesitate to use it without a holistic vet on board because it can sometimes make dogs sick to the stomach, with added boneset it is also helpful for bone pain Another formula not mentioned in the article is Si Miao San which can be helpful for osteosarcoma, milder but similar action to the Hoxsey but usually without side effects.
    best wishes,

  54. Barbara Pavel Says:

    My 17 yr 9 month old dog has been diagnosed with lung cancer, probably bronchiogenic carcinoma.
    Cannot use Neoplascene because he has been on prednisone for lupus for 10 years. Tried Tumexal but no change in tumor. Currently trying Apocaps but he throws up, tonight a meal of chicken and rice, and last night drank so much water, he vomited. There is very little information on alternative treatment for canine lung cancer. I have ordered Avemar and would like to know if alternating it with artemisinin would be something to try. His only symptom is a cough. sudi is 15 lb neutered male Coton de Tulear. Thank you for any help you can offer. We don’t have any holistic vets in our area except one who just uses Neo.

  55. Lena Says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I have one dog who I am currently treating for primary lung cancer (although we don’t know what type) and have had two of my own cats come down with it. I don’t know if you have read this article but I usually use a similar protocol in treating primary lung cancer. In particular you may want to check out info on Xiao Chai Hu Tang and Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang which I have found to be helpful used together in many animals. The lungs are a hard place to have cancer. I have not used Avemar before and it is not something commonly used in the holistic vet community.
    best wishes,

  56. Barbara Says:

    thank you so much, Lena. My husband is researching them now and we will see where we can order them, or find a local herbalist, which in a small town isn’t easy. Sudi is refusing to eat today, but moving around, and not showing any signs of distress so we think it is just an upset tummy. He is drinking water. I honestly think we may have run out of time, if only the vets had diagnosed this sooner we might have had a chance. Our vets in our main residence told us for a year his cough was just allergy and would not do an xray, because his lung and heart sounds were clear so we lost a lot of time and now he is very old and the tumor is very large.

    As the article says, I don’t want him to die gasping for breath so hope these herbs can do something to help that from happening. When he coughs, we both feel like we are dying inside and my husband counts each cough to make sure the episodes are not getting worse.


  57. Amanda Says:

    Hi Dr. Lena,

    I have an 8 year old Wheaten diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. I have ordered artemisinin to give her, but it is not from Holley Pharmaceuticals. Is it safe to give to her? Will it work? I started working with a holisitc vet hoping to give us some or time with her or by some miracle, a cure. She is currently taking Dang Gui Bu Xua Tang 2 x daily, .3 ccc of Vitamin A/D, 300 IU of Vitamin E, fish oil, Selenium 200 mcg, Canine Cardiac Support 2x daily, 50 mg CoQ10 daily, and 100 mg Ester C. She will also begin Missing Link as soon as it arrives. Do you any further suggestions? Thank you.


  58. Lena Says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I have had clients use other sources of artemisinin before and they have seemed to be fine. I have to admit I am partial to the Holley Pharmacy brand because Dr. Li uses it but really probably any of the others are ok. I don’t know if you have seen my article on hemangiosarcoma . If you haven’t it might be very helpful. I no longer use artemisinin for hemangio and instead follows Dr. Steve Marsden’s protocol for hemangiosarcoma. I have been highly impressed with it. I do sell the modified version of Chai Hu Jia Long Mu Li Tang through my etsy store but highly recommend that people work with a holistic vet if they are using it, which you are already doing, as it can sometimes cause side effects. The Yunnan Baiyao which is sold many places is also a very important part of treating hemangiosarcoma in my opinion. Truthfully before following Steve’s protocol I had not found anything I was impressed with.
    Hope this is helpful
    best wishes,

  59. Amanda Says:

    Thanks Dr. Lena.

    I probably should have said where her cancer is at. It’s on her heart. Would this affect treatment? Does the Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang that my holistic vet prescribed as good as what Dr. Steve Marsden uses?


  60. Lena Says:

    Heart is more difficult as surgery is not an option. I have used a combo of Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang and Xiao Chai Hu Tang with Yunnan Baiyao in the past and felt like it bought more time for heart hemangio. If I had a heart hemangiosarcoma I was treating currently (I haven’t seen one since learning Steve’s protocol), I would replace the Chai Hu Jia Long Mu Li Tang for the XCHT, but still use Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang and Yunnan Baiyao. Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang is good at treating anemia (which can be a large issue with hemangio) but not very strong against cancer or bleeding in my opinion, however I don’t have your dog in front of me so your holistic vet may be seeing something that I don’t. Realized I need to modify the hemangio article to talk about heart hemangiosarcoma, as I haven’t included it.

  61. Joanne Johnson Says:

    Dear Dr. Lena

    My 7 old Doberman Pinscher has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He is due to start oral Melphalan and prednisone this weekend. We caught this early as he shows no symptoms just some bleeding at the corner of his mouth which prompted our vet visit. I have a Ph.D in Natural medicine. My specialty is in herbal medicine in humans. I am a bit worried about chemo. I favor natural methods if I can.

    Can I use artemisinin in conjunction with chemo? Romeo is 70 pounds.

    Thank you.

    Dr. Joanne M. Johnson

  62. Lena Says:

    Hi Joanne,
    I often use artemisinin in addition to chemo. I also have almost all my chemo patients on Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang as it really helps with side effects (you may also have some good herbals that will work just as well). For blood bourne cancers like mutiple myeloma I also often use Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang for its blood stasis properties.

    Most people end up landing on the artemisinin page but I have about 3/4 of a book done on working with cancer with integrative methods, lots more infomation.

    Good luck! Its great that you have a wonderful herbal background and can help him with that.
    best wishes,

  63. Joanne Johnson Says:

    Should I just use the BZYQT or the artemisinin too? Also do you think that the Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang would be better for the multiple myeloma? I’m trying to figure out what the best supplement would be for his immune system and getting the myeloma into remission.



  64. Lena Says:

    I often times use all three together. Most dogs I treat for cancer are on 3-5 herbals even if chemo is involved.

  65. Twyla Says:

    Hi I was wondering if I could get advise on giving my heavy shitzu hepalin for cushings disease? Will it hurt her? How much should I give her shes probably 25lbs or more. Any advise would be good if it wont hurt I would like to try it as chemo is one of the treatments for canine cushings.

  66. Twyla Says:

    Hi I was wondering if I could get advise on giving my heavy shitzu hepalin for cushings disease? Will it hurt her? How much should I give her shes probably 25lbs or more. Any advise would be good if it wont hurt I would like to try it. What else do you recommend with the artemisinin

  67. Lena Says:

    Hi Twyla,
    I am not sure what hepalin is, have never used it myself. Chemo is not a treatment for Cushing’s disease unless you are dealing with an adrenal adenocarcinoma and most dogs with those do not have Cushings. I do not recommend artemisinin for Cushings. I don’t know if you have already found my article on Cushing’s disease but if you haven’t it might be helpful
    best wishes,

  68. sharon Says:

    Hello Lena,

    Our 11 year old doggy has grade 3 soft cell sarcoma. We have had a tumor removed from her elbow and could not get clean margins. She starts chemo next week and I am wondering if it is ok to use artemisinin with chemo? Thanks!


  69. Elias Says:


    I’ve just treated my cat with the first Chemo therapy session and it went well. This chemo therapy was done after two cancer surgeries in a period of 2 months. September and November this year and the third was done in December 10th whcih then a chemotherapy was suggested

    The Oncologist that performed the treatment was well recommended and is actually excellent – so far :)
    Everything happened as discussed prior the chemotherapy so I’m positive as my cat responded well and had no side effects other than being a bit quiet.

    However, being directed from another forum to learn more on \Artemisin/ I wonder why the oncologist didn’t recommend it.

    My question would be, My cat is 14 years old and had two cancer surgeries this year. Just 3 days ago we’ve done a chemo session. Prior to the last surgery we’ve done an ultra sound, Xrays from different directions and all was excellent, lungs, liver, kidney, heart, etc..

    What would be your suggestion now knowing that she had three surgeries in a period of 3 months and a chemo therapy. Her Cancer is very aggressive.
    Is Artemisin still a good decision?

    Thank you

  70. Lena Says:

    Hi Sharon,
    I almost always use artemisinin with chemotherapy and consider it to be safe. I hope things go well for your dog.
    best wishes,

  71. Lena Says:

    Hi Elias,
    I have almost all my cancer patients on artemisinin because I have found it to be a safe and effective treatment for slowing cancer down. Cats are always a little more tricky because they usually hate oral medications so it really depends how much trauma is involved with a daily or twice a day medication. See .Most oncologists no matter how good, don’t recommend natural treatments either because they don’t know enough about them or are against them. See . With cats I try to recommend that folks see a holistic vet if possible just because I find you can not give as many supplements as with dogs so you really have to pick the right 1-3 for your cat. Sounds like so far she has done very well, I hope that continues.
    best wishes,

  72. judy fulop Says:

    Hi. I was wondering what you would suggest, but especially if artemesia would not be a good idea for my PWD 12 y/o Francie who had an ovarian cancer removed but with vascular invasion, 4 months after surgery she was found to have pink fluid on aspiration on ultrasound but everything else fine. Yesterday, since the fluid built up, only a small amount of it was aspirated because it was bloody and contained non-coagulated blood. She was given two days, but I’ve started her with my holistic vet on YB, 1 cap twice a day. Would you go up on the dose? Would you say that artemesia is counter-indicated because she is losing blood in her abdominal cavity and it would sequester too much iron? Even if the iron is in the cancerous cells that line the peritoneum (most likely source)? Thanks. Judy Fulop

  73. Lena Says:

    I have not seen an ovarian cancer in my practice and am not sure how they normally present Chinese medicine wise. Your holistic vet will probably have a much better idea of how to treat her since they are able to see her. Artemisinin should not make the blood lose worse or sequester iron away from normal cells. The yunnan baiyao is probably going to be the most helpful, if she is really bleeding a lot you should probably take to your vet about if giving the red pill would be helpful. If they think she may die of blood lose that would be the perfect time to use it. Also perhaps a formula that helps her build up blood volume would be helpful. The most simple and effective one contains just Dang Gui and Huang Qi. I’m not sure what PWD is but assuming that she is a dog.
    best wishes,