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Mugwort Allergy and Cross-Reactivity with Foods During Pollen Season

Mugwort pollen frequently causes allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma symptoms in sensitized individuals. Such adverse reactions are particularly common in Europe and the western United States during the mugwort pollen season which runs from late summer to fall. During the pollen season, people with mugwort allergy may notice their symptoms get worse or they may experience oral allergy symptoms when they eat foods that contain proteins that resemble those found in mugwort. This phenomenon is known as cross-reactivity between mugwort pollen and food allergens.

The following list gives an overview of some of the foods that have been found to cross react with mugwort pollen. In many cases, people with mugwort pollen allergy develop allergies only to a few of the foods included in the list. Therefore, in order to maintain a balanced diet, you should first find out which foods cause adverse reactions in your case and then continue to eat foods that do not cause reactions.

VegetablesFruitsNuts & SeedsHerbs & Spices
Mugwort and cross-reactivity
  • broccoli
  • raw, unpeeled carrots
  • celery
  • peppers
  • raw apples
  • melon
  • unpeeled peaches
  • chestnuts
  • hazelnuts
  • peanuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • aniseed
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • fennel seeds
  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • sage

Note: Some foods cross react with mugwort pollen when they are eaten raw but not when they are processed or cooked. For example, raw/unpeeled carrots, peaches and apples may trigger allergic reactions while cooked/peeled carrots, peaches and apples may cause no symptoms. However, certain foods, such as hazelnuts and celery, contain allergens that are resistant to cooking and processing.