Ambrosia: World's strongest pollen allergen

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Ambrosia: World's strongest pollen allergen.

(09.07.2010) Many media reports warn of the plant Ambrosia (dove herb). The pollen grains of the plant, which actually comes from North America, are said to be able to trigger massive symptoms in allergy sufferers such as a constantly runny nose, shortness of breath, cough, asthma, eye swelling, headaches and other hay fever symptoms until the end of July.

In individual cities, such as in Berlin, there are now warnings about large construction sites that are repositioning large parts of the earth and thus spreading the plant, which looks similar to the weed and which is native to us, mugwort.

There is now an action program and in Berlin so-called “ambrosia scouts” since 2009, which are supposed to detect and combat ambrosia plants as possible sources of danger. They wear gloves and face masks and the plants should not be burned in the "normal" organic waste, but rather with the household waste. As an additional measure, side edges and side strips of roads will be mowed more often.

The ragweed plants should be pulled out together with the roots before their flowering period, which begins at the end of July. Because a single ragweed plant is said to be able to secrete almost a billion allergy-causing pollen grains, and these can sometimes spread up to 100 kilometers from their place of origin via the wind. Global warming and human interference with natural vegetation are also to blame for the rapid spreading of the ragweed.

The ragweed plant was probably introduced to us as the content of feed (e.g. bird feed) and seeds or in the ground by the meanwhile worldwide trade. It originally comes from North America. It has already spread massively in Hungary, Italy and France. According to media reports, most plants can be found in Germany in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse and in Brandenburg's Lower Lusatia. Berlin, which is in sixth place, has even set up an ambrosia atlas where citizens can enter ambrosia plants. An ambrosia belongs to the so-called daisy family and can grow up to two meters high. In naturopathy, it was used by the American Indians as tea, ointment or raw for injuries, inflammation, fever, nausea and vomiting and pain. (tf)

Image: Oliver Haja /

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Video: Speaking Of Health Episode 39 - Seasonal Allergies


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