Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

    Ambrosia artemisiifolia

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    Ambrosia artemisiaefolia


    from greek ambrosia means immortal


    Traditional name

    Rag-weed; Hog Weed; Short Ragweed

    German: Aufrechtes Traubenkraut oder Ambrosia

    Used parts

    trituration of whole plant


    Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Asteridae / Synandrae; Asterales; Compositae / Asteraceae - Composites / Daisy or Sunflower Family


    Original proving

    H.Recorder: Provings of various elements, from Transactions of Penna., Thirty-eighth Session , in the Homoeopathic Recorder, May, 1903, Vol. XVIII, No. 5, page 210. Article by C.F.M., in the Homoeopathic Recorder, November, 1889, Vol. IV, No. 6, page 256.

    Description of the substance

    Ragweeds (Ambrosia) is a genus of flowering plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

    The name of this genus is derived from the Greek word for "food of the gods".

    They occur in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and South America. They prefer dry, sunny grassy plains; sandy soils; and to grow along river banks, along roadsides, disturbed soils, vacant lots and ruderal sites. Ragweed was far less common in the Eastern United States before dense European settlement/agriculture in the late 1700s.

     There are 41 species worldwide. They are very ordinary in appearance. Despite being all around, they are easily overlooked. Virtually no animal browses them. Many are adapted to the arid climates of the desert. Burrobush (Ambrosia dumosa) is one of the most arid-adapted perennials in North America. About 10 species occur in the Sonoran Desert.

    These are annuals, perennials and shrubs and subshrubs with erect, hispid stems growing in large clumps to a height of 75 - 90 cm. The stems are basally branched. They form a slender taproot or a creeping rhizome.

    The foliage is grayish to silvery green with bipinnatifid, deeply lobed leaves with winged petioles. But in the case of Ambrosia coronopifolia, the leaves are simple. The leaf arrangement is opposite at the base, but becomes alternate higher on the stem.

    Ragweeds are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species

    Ambrosia is a monoecious plant, i.e. it produces separate male and female flower heads on the same plant. The numerous tiny male, yellowish-green disc flower are about 3 mm in diameter. They grow in a terminal spike, subtended by joined bracts. The female, whitish-green flowers are 1-flowered and are inconspicuously situated below the male ones, in the leaf axils. The pappus is lacking.

    After wind pollination, the female flowers develops into a prickly, ovoid burr with 9-18 straight spines. It contains one arrowhead-shaped seed, brown when mature, and smaller than a wheat grain. This burr gets dispersed by clinging to the fur or feathers of animals passing by. The seeds are an important winter food for many bird species.

    [edit] Allergen
    Each plant is reputed to be able to produce about a billion grains of pollen over a season, and the plant is anemophilous (wind-pollinated). It is highly allergenic, as the greatest pollen allergen of all pollens, and the prime cause of hayfever. The plant blooms in the northern hemisphere from about mid August until cooler weather arrives. It usually produces pollen more copiously in wet seasons. Two species, Ambrosia artemisiifolia and A. psilostachya are considered among the most noxious to those prone to hay fever.

    Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is the most widespread of this genus in North America. It attains a height of about a meter. Great Ragweed, Giant Ragweed or Horseweed, (Ambrosia trifida), may grow to four meters (13 feet) or more.

    Ragweed is a plant of concern in the global warming issue, because tests have shown that higher levels of carbon dioxide will greatly increase pollen production. On dry windy days, the pollen will travel many kilometers. When the humidity rises above 70%, the pollen tends to clump and is not so likely to become airborne.

    Goldenrod is frequently blamed for hayfever, but simply happens to have a showy flower that blooms about the same time. Goldenrod is innocent, as it is entomophilous, ie. insect pollinated. Its pollen is heavy and sticky, and cannot become airborne.

    Some high mountain and desert areas of North America used to be refuges for severe hay fever sufferers, who would go to such areas for relief during the pollen season, but increased human activity such as building and other disturbances of the soil, irrigation, and gardening, have encouraged ragweed to spread to these areas as well. Today, no area in the United States is ragweed pollen free, and moving can only offer a degree of relief. The ragweed was accidentally imported to Europe during World War I, it had adapted to the different environment successfully and has greatly spread since the 1950s. Hungary is currently the most heavily affected country in Europe (and possibly the entire world), especially since the early 1990s, when abandonment of communist-style collective agriculture left vast fields uncultivated, which were promptly invaded by ragweed.

    Anecdotal claims are made of honey giving some relief for ragweed pollen allergies, which is noteworthy because honeybees very rarely visit ragweed flowers, and even then only for pollen. However, during ragweed pollen shed, the pollen dusts every surface, and honeybees, being electrostatically charged, will accumulate some ragweed pollen. The pollen is frequently identified as a component of raw honey.