Sweet Annie, also known as sweet wormwood or qing hao, is an easy-to-grow annual herb. It grows well in the hot sun and doesn't require a lot water. This fragrant herb can grow as tall as 6 feet. Once harvested, sweet Annie has many uses, from medicinal to decorative.
Sweet Annie is most commonly used in crafts. Cut long branches of the herb and tie them together in bundles with a rubber band. Hang them in a dark, dry place for a week or two and allow them to dry. Then use them in wreaths and swags. Sweet Annie also makes a good filler plant in flower arrangements and bouquets.
Another common use for sweet Annie is as a deer deterrent. In areas where deer are a problem in vegetable and flowerbeds, it can be planted as a hedge around garden beds to keep the deer away. Many people find it a very effective way to keep deer from eating their plants and vegetables.
Sweet Annie has a sweet, fruity fragrance that is long-lasting, making it an excellent air freshener. Hang dried bunches of sweet Annie in a bathroom or closet that needs freshening. Crumble dried sweet Annie on the carpet before vacuuming to release the scent into the air. Sweet Annie is also used in perfumes.
Sweet Annie was used by Chinese herbalists as far back as 150 B.C. to treat hemorrhoids, fever and other infections. A chemical found in sweet Annie called aretemisinin may be effective in fighting malaria, although the herb itself should be used to treat the disease. Aretemisinin-based medicines are still in the early stages of testing and are not readily available in the United States or Europe. Testing shows that they may be useful in treating gastrointestinal parasites as well.