The Nei Ching, or Chinese Canon of Medicine, dates to 2700 B.C. and describes malaria-like symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roman writers observed a link between malaria and swamps. Research in the late 1800s identified the parasites responsible for malaria and explained their mosquito-borne transmission.
By A.D. 340, the Chinese were using the Qinghao plant, a type of wormwood, to treat malarial fever, notes the CDC. The anti-malarial drugs known as artemisinins come from this plant. Seventeenth-century Europeans found that indigenous tribes in the Americas used a particular tree bark to treat malaria. Quinine, a very effective anti-malarial drug, is an extract from this bark.