Spring allergies can be insidious; one of the most common is parietaria allergy. This article explains what it is and illustrates a simple recipe for spring.

What is Parietaria?

Parietaria is a plant from the Urticaceae family that is widespread in Italy. The most common types include Parietaria officinalis and Parietaria judaica, also known as Wallwort, Common Gherkin, and Lesser Gherkin. Parietaria is an annual or polyannual herbaceous species native to warm-temperate climate regions, such as the Mediterranean. It has a bushy appearance, abundant pollen emission, and long-lasting flowering.

Parietaria Allergy: Causes and Symptoms

Like other spring allergies, parietaria allergy is caused by inhaling its pollen, which is an allergen that enters the body through the respiratory tract. 

In susceptible individuals, the immune system reacts by producing IgE antibodies, leading to mucosal, oral, and nasal inflammation. Parietaria also contains histamine, which can cause allergic reactions and itching. The symptoms, which can last throughout the flowering season, include burning, redness of the eyes, nasal congestion, itching of the nose, palate, and eyes, sneezing, sinus headache, and watery rhinorrhea.

Foods to Avoid

Diet can also play a role when suffering from parietaria allergy. Some foods can trigger allergic symptoms, especially burning eyes, tearing, and itching. About 70% of people with pollen allergy also have cross-reactions with plant-based foods. When these foods are consumed during pollen season, they can trigger an immune response in the body due to the presence of similar proteins. Therefore, it is best to limit the intake of basil, mulberries, peas, melon, nettle, and cherries, and to avoid watermelon, peaches, carrots, celery, fennel, and kiwis.

Recipe: Tasty Spring Salad (270 kcal per serving)

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 5.3 oz of lamb’s lettuce
  • 7.05 oz of fresh peas
  • 10.5 oz of small new potatoes
  • 0.7 oz of watercress sprouts
  • 4 baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash the new potatoes thoroughly without peeling them. Place them in a saucepan and cover them with water. Cook for about 15 minutes, then drain and let them cool. Peel and slice them.
  2. Shell the peas and cook them in boiling water for about 10-12 minutes. Drain and let them cool.
  3. Scrape the carrots and cut them into julienne strips.
  4. Place 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Emulsify the ingredients well.
  5. Mix the lamb’s lettuce, sliced new potatoes, carrots, peas, and watercress sprouts in a salad bowl.
  6. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and mix well before serving.