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Revision as of 15:59, 9 January 2012
Short and bushy is a simple description for Ambrosia. It is commonly referred to as Ragweed due to its very potent pollen that is easily carried away by the wind. Averaging 1 to 3 feet in height this arid desert plant is well suited to its harsh environment. When healthy it is found to have a wide range of green color. The fruit is more of a thorny pod that clings to passing hairs of animals that are unfortunate to brush against it. There are no dominate flowers to speak of, but tiny petals open to release excessive amounts of fragrant pollen.
History and Origin
Found growing wildly in the lower south west of the United States, specifically Southern Arizona, Sonora, Mexico, and Baja, California, it can also be found in the western parts of Tucson and surrounding areas.
It has a very love hate relationship with allergy sufferers; they simply love to hate it. Due to its overly fragrant and abundant pollen production, it sends allergy sufferers who are especially susceptible to hay fever into severe allergic reactions. Many populated areas are removing this native plant due to how badly it affects a person’s Allergies.
Oil made from Ambrosia was discovered by a pharmacist in Germany in 1895. This oil was commercially distilled later on in Maryland under the name Baltimore oil. In order to create the oil there had to be enough seeds gathered to press out the oil. Roughly ½ to one ton of seeds can be yielded per acre. The oil was used to remove intestinal parasites by placing several drops onto a sugar cube and then consumed. An infusion was made by steeping plant cuttings and ground seeds and then having large wineglassful droughts. Another popular method was to add a teaspoon of seeds to honey and ingested twice daily accompanied by a laxative to cleanse the intestines. Many recipes existed of jams and preserves being combined with seeds and eaten before breakfast or before bed for 3-4 days along with laxatives. Native American tribes would use it for various purposes. Some tribes would use the whole plant to help alleviate painful menstruation and to purify the blood. It was used as a poultice to draw out poisons and venom. It was also used as a vermifuge and this practice was most likely taught to settlers. In Spain it was a popular blood cleanser and in some areas is still used today for this purpose.
Due to its natural abilities to cleanse the body of parasites, it is still used to treat intestinal worms such as hookworms, small tapeworms and roundworms as well as for amoebic dysentery. It is being studied for its application as mild cardiac stimuli and to promote skin and kidney secretions.
New applications for Ambrosia oil are being conducted for treating Asthma, Malaria, Chorea, excessive mucus production and nervous disorders. When used externally it has been found to help treat athlete’s foot and stinging insect bites.
Excessive use of Ambrosia can result in upset stomach, intestinal issues, loose bowels and other mild reactions. There are no known severe reactions to Ambrosia and it can be considered safe. Fresh pollen can upset allergies during springtime.