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Ambrosia: plant and properties

Ambrosia: plant and properties


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Ambrosia, small and perennial plant, indeed, as well as perennial, it is often considered infested and among the main causes of allergic rhinitis. There are more than thirty species all over the world, they are all called dicotyledonous spermatophytes and belong to the family of Asteraceae.

If it were not for the issue of allergy, no one would pay any attention to these plants:ambrosia it has a very ordinary appearance and is also very widespread, you can see it and don't pay much attention to it, it is a type of plant that goes unnoticed. Even the herbivorous animals they look for it particularly, in response it is a plant that has learned to adapt to the arid climates of the desert.

Most of the species are of American origin and, apart from theAmbrosia maritima, all the others are considered naturalized exotic, weeds ready to dominate in dry and sunny meadows, along the banks of rivers, on the edges of roads and in abandoned lands. We find this plant, to the delight of allergici, both in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere (North America and Eurasia), and in South America.

The name it bears is deceiving: it comes from the Greek “ἀμβροσία” (= ambrosia), the food that gave immortality to the gods, from the Greek άμβροτος (àmbrotos), which means immortal. One is led to think that it is a plant with magical virtues, instead it is she and she alone who is immortal. Or almost: it is called so much it is infesting and omnipresent or almost.

Ambrosia: plant

Among the annual summer herbaceous plants we find theambrosia, with a structure rich in branches and reaching heights of up to 2 meters. Its anonymous appearance has a fluted, reddish and hairy stem while the leaves, toothed, sometimes oval and sometimes more rhombus-shaped, range from 4 to 10 cm in length, with green and hairy tops while on the lower side white hairs sprout .

THE ragweed flowers, which are not flowers as we usually understand them, such as those seen with the Viola or the Cornflower, they can be male or female. The first are green, small, 4-5 mm and often drooping, the female ones are inconspicuous, in small groups or singles, but modest. Even less aesthetically pleasing is the fruit of'ambrosia: a woody achene 3-4 mm long and 1-2 mm wide, similar to a crown.

Ambrosia: flowering period

In the Northern hemisphere, the plant ofambrosia it blooms from about mid-August until the cold arrives. These are indicative periods, which also vary a lot on a local scale: it depends on how the ragweed is found and set from time to time. In the early 2000s, for example, pollen in Po Valley has had a surge in its spread. Always to the delight of allergic.

The mechanism of reproduction of ragweed involves pollination by insects or by the wind, then the seeds are dispersed by the wind but also by animals, in addition to the fact that the seeds themselves are an important food, especially in winter, for many birds.

But where ragweed blooms ? A little everywhere, but especially near roads, railways, gravel pits, construction sites, cultivated fields. It does not disdain waterways, urban areas and private gardens: where it can this plant takes over the land, establishes itself and proliferates. It is better if it finds full sun and warm, rich soils nutrients and slightly acidic.

Ambrosia: allergy

More than the properties ofambrosia, we must talk about effects, and not positive ones. The main one is the abundant amount of pollen produced by male flowers which represent strong allergens for sensitive people. Thus, this plant aggravates health problems such as rhinitis, asthma and eye irritation, it is even considered the main cause of allergic rhinitis and one of the most allergenic of all pollen.

To a lesser extent, ragweed can also cause conjunctivitis and dermatitis, and they are all symptoms that spit in the second half of August and remain for over a month, often until the cold. During the day the moment when an allergic toambrosia he goes crazy in the evening, or early in the morning, antihistamines are often used to calm allergic reactions but there are also vaccines available that can desensitize those who are allergic.

To meet those suffering from these allergies, there are also regional regulations that try to limit the empire of ambrosia on certain areas by imposing periodic mowing of infested land. It must be said, however, that the practice of mowing is considered by experts to be among the least suitable techniques, better the plowing of the land and the use of herbicides. Recently, since 2012, a new weapon has been introduced anti ragweed: the chrysomelid beetle Ophraella communa. It is an antagonistic insect capable of attacking the plant before flowering.

Ambrosia: allergy

More than of property of ragweed, we must talk about effects, and not positive ones. Thus, this plant aggravates health problems such as rhinitis, asthma and eye irritation, it is even considered the main cause of allergic rhinitis and one of the most allergenic of all pollen.

To a lesser extent, theambrosia it can also cause conjunctivitis and dermatitis, and they are all symptoms that spit in the second half of August and remain for over a month, often until the cold. During the day the moment when an allergic toambrosia goes crazy in the evening, or early in the morning, antihistamines are often used to calm allergic reactions but there are also vaccines available that can desensitize those who are allergic.

To meet those suffering from these allergies, there are also regional regulations that try to limit the empire of ambrosia on certain areas by imposing periodic mowing of infested land. Recently, since 2012, a new weapon has been introduced anti ambrosia: the beetle chrysomelid Ophraella communa. It is an antagonistic insect capable of attacking the plant before flowering.

Ambrosia: ownership

The properties of this plant were once believed to be valid, today they are less prominent, while its harmful effects prevail. In America, Indians smeared the leaves of ambrosia reduced to pulp on the bites caused by insects and the leaves were always used by folk medicine for the preparation of infusions, perfect for washing the head in case of skin disorders.

Not only that: the same "magic" formula could relieve abdominal cramps, cure constipation, vomiting and fever, relieve menstrual pain. It is also used in homeopathic remedies but it is famous because it is often responsible for allergies such as hay fever and severe forms related to its pollen.

There is immunotherapy and with the appropriate dosage of ragweed pollen extract, the symptoms of hay fever and asthma. It is a recommended treatment for those who cannot avoid exposure to pollen and who do not find the slightest relief with other drugs, including antihistamines. L'ragweed pollen extract it has no particular contraindications, but it should not be administered to pregnant women or to those who are not sensitive to ambrosia pollen: it would have a harmful effect.

Ambrosia oil

Among the products based on ambrosia we find the essential oil of ambrosia, known for its action of antimicrobial. This effect is related to the presence of antibacterial and antifungal compounds.

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