Key Allergens

Also called by it's latin name, Artemisia, wormwood bushes are in the Asteraceae family of plants. Other plants in this family include sunflowers, asters, mugwort and daisies.

The terms wormwood and mugwort are used interchangeably, but they are two distinct types of plants sharing the same genus, Artemisia. A.absinthum, A.annua are types of wormwood and A.vulgaris is mugwort. The herb tarragon is also in the Artemisia genus.

Wormwood bushes produce a lot of pollen and are wind pollinated, so are considered to be very important in terms of rhinitis.

There are lots of variants of wormwood, each with identified allergens. The majority of them contain defensin proteins. Many of the other species contain lipid transfer proteins (LTP) and profilin proteins. These are common panallergens which can cause cross reactive reactions across large groups of plants.

Allergens found in other species of wormwood, but less commonly so, include aldolase proteins, a common pollen allergen, polcalcin, enolase and a PR-1 protein.

The pollen season for wormwood is July to September.

Associated Syndromes

An allergy to wormwood pollen is strongly associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hayfever).

A wormwood tree pollen allergy is also linked to asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and atopic dermatitis.

The PR-1 protein and profilin proteins in wormwood pollen links this to Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome, where eating food containing similar allergens to pollen causes oral allergy symptoms.

Some Artemisia species containn lipid transfer proteins, which are linked to LTP Syndrome which causes serious symptoms when exposed to these proteins.

Cross Reactivity

Other plants in the Asteraceae family of plants include sunflower, asters, mugwort and daisies. If you are allergic to the pollen of these plants, you may also want to avoid wormwood pollen where you can.

Defensin proteins are also found in ragweed, wormwood and soya pollen. They are also found as food allergens in celery, peanut and chestnuts.

Other plants containing inhalant LTP allergens are wormwood, mugwort and plane. Foods containing LTP include kiwi, strawberry, sunflower, walnut, apple, mulberry, pea, apricot, cabbage, peanut, chestnut, celery, lemon tangerine, orange, lettuce, lentil, lupin, mustard, cherry, plum, almond, peach, pomegranate, raspberry, tomato and grape.

Other plants containing profilin inhalant allergens are ragweed, wormwood, birch, sunflower, olive, plantain, poplar and oak. Profilins are also found as food allergens in kiwi, celery, peanut, chilli, watermelon, orange, hazelnut, melon, carrot, strawberry, soya, walnut, lychee, lupin, apple, cherry, almond, peach, pear, mustard, tomato and aubergine.

Aldolase proteins are found in moulds and fungus.
Other plant pollens which contain polcalcin proteins are ragweed, alder, birch, timothy grass, lilac and olive. There is also a polcalcin protein in turnips which is associated with this allergy presenting itself as a food allergy.

Enolase proteins are found in moulds, fungus, ragweeds, types of grasses, plane trees, penicillin, yeasts and latex.

There is cross reactivity between the many species of wormwood and mugwort plants due to the PR-1 protein. PR-1 (Pathogenesis Related) proteins are also found in pollens like mugwort and grasses as well as foods like melons and peaches.



Worcester Pollen Forecast

Allergy UK - Managing your asthma and your allergic rhinitis throughout the seasons

Pollen Library - Artemisia

Allergen Encyclopedia - Wormwood

DermNet NZ - Compositae Allergy

Science Direct - Artemisia absinthium

Articles and Journals

Quantitative assessment and correlational analysis of subjective and objective indicators in patients with allergic rhinitis, 2024

Spectrum and frequency of food allergy in Kyiv`s adult citizens with allergic rhinitis: a cross-sectional study, 2022

Patterns of Reactivity to Lipid Transfer Proteins of Plant Foods and Artemisia Pollen: An in vivo Study, 2002

Artemisia pollen allergy in China: Component-resolved diagnosis reveals allergic asthma patients have significant multiple allergen sensitization, 2018

Allergen of the Month — Annual Wormwood, 2015

Artemisia Allergy Research in China, 2015

Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). General and stomatological aspects, 2009

Prevalence of Artemisia Species Pollinosis in Western Poland: Impact of Climate Change on Aerobiological Trends, 1995–2004, 2007

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