WORMWOOD (ARTEMISIA SPECIES)
Both the pollen produced by artemisia and the volatile oil thujone can be problematic in sensitive folks or in high doses, in the case of thujone.
For this reason, the liqueur absinthe was banned in France. Its flavour was derived from Artemisia absinthium.
In Nova Scotia, these annual or biennial plants are opportunistic weeds, roadside or on beaches.
Dusty miller is another relative often seen in northern annual flower beds. Planted for its attractive “furry” foliage, copious amounts of pollen may be released if it is allowed to flower.
Be wary, hay fever sufferers!
Pollen of some species, especially ragweed. A microscopic view of the pollen grain itself shows the tiny hooks with which the pollen attaches to a target flower—or to the delicate mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs of a hay fever sufferer!
Mechanical irritant, but no chemical toxin. The tendency to suffer from hay fever is inherited; sensitivity to different pollens arises after exposure to them, when the lymphoid tissues of the body are stimulated to produce special antibodies to the pollen. The antibodies stimulate localized production of compounds called histamines, which cause sneezing.
TYPICAL POISONING SCENARIO
Breathing-in an otherwise invigorating lungful of fresh air. Sadly, despite the widespread success of antihistamines and allergy shots, the only 100% reliable solution to hay fever is avoidance. Air filtration and air conditioning remove outdoor airborne allergens, but who would miss the whole summer, brief as it often is?
Incidentally, if you sneeze and sniffle through May–June, your problem is more likely to be trees like alder and birch; if June and July set your nose running, you’re more likely to be suffering from grass pollens. Only ragweed can keep you miserable all spring and summer.
Ragweed pollen stimulates antibody production, which stimulates histamine production. Histamines, in turn, cause localized dilation of blood vessels (redness), increased fluid secretion (runny nose), tissue swelling (stuffed-up nostrils, puffy eyes), sneezing, and rhinitis (inflamed, itchy nose and throat). Severity varies with the individual, but repeated, severe attacks may result in asthma and/or secondary infections of inflamed tissue that cause chronic sinusitis, headaches, and insomnia.
WORMWOOD POISON INFORMATION
Hay Fever allergens
Some people develop sensitivities to the physical properties of some plants, especially seeds or pollen.
Pollen is produced by all flowering plants; it is essential to the fertilization of flowers. Some plants depend upon the wind to pollinate the flowers. Buoyant pollen grains, especially from trees and grasses, blow from plant to plant.
Not all wind-pollinated plants are toxic, but they tend to produce copious amounts of dust-like pollen. In susceptible people, this irritating pollen causes hay fever. Many plants cause hay fever—grasses, alders, poplars, birches, elms, and maples, to name a few. Not everyone reacts to all allergenic plants.
Hay fever results in influenza- or cold-like symptoms, with a definite seasonality to the condition. Spring sufferers of hay fever are probably allergic to tree pollen; early summer brings on reactions to grasses; and fall sufferers probably can’t tolerate ragweed.
Resins and Volatile Oils
Resins and volatile oils are derived mostly from hydrocarbons—chemicals composed of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. This group of poisons is very diverse.