From The New York Times, via A Glimpse of the World:
Every five days, a country market converges in a horn-honking, pig-squealing clamor on the old arching stone bridge that spans the river coursing through here.
For as long as anyone can remember, the biggest crop in this valley has been the corn that grows tall and thick by the river’s edge. But in the last two years, a new crop, qinghao, or sweet wormwood, has been crowned king, driven by a desperate need in the tropical world for new malaria treatments.
The rugged valleys and steep gorges along the Apeng River, in central China, have long been a metaphor for idyllic remoteness. Even China’s dazzling economic takeoff had done little to change that, until the World Health Organization approved a malaria treatment using artemisinin, the active ingredient of the qinghao plant, in 2001.