Substance Info: (and synonyms)

Background Info:

Onion family. Thick, cylindrical stem with flat leaves. Pungent flavour. Cultivated for over 3000 years in Mediterranean, in Europe since Middle Ages. Valued for therapeutic properties by ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians; ailments treated include sore throats, kidney stones and gout. Good source of potassium (aids kidney functioning, and effective as a diuretic) and folate.

Allium is a genus of some 500 species belonging to the family Liliaceae. However, only a few of these are important as food plants, notably onion, garlic, chive, leek, and rakkyo.


Adverse Reactions:


[ 1 / 3 ]

Produce-induced contact urticaria and dermatitis: Solanaceae and Alliaceae. A 48-year-old, atopic (eczema and asthma history), female supermarket produce manager presented with a 10-year history of urticaria! lesions affecting, but not limited to, her palms, flexor surfaces of forearms, and antecubital fossae. Initially, the urticarial reactions were localized to her arms and exacerbated by occupational exposure. Later, oral and occupational skin contact would trigger more widespread urticaria affecting the face, neck, and chest, with bronchospasm, gastrointestinal discomfort, and hypotension. These reactions resulted in self-administration of subcutaneous epinephrine. e immediate-type signs and symptoms. She developed disabling anxiety, refusing to leave her home, and consuming a vegetable-free diet. Patch tests were positive for the following, divided by family:
Red bell pepper
Green bell pepper
Serrano pepper
Pasilla pepper

Yellow onion
Green onion (Chive)
(Alikhan 2009 ref.23722 0)

Alikhan A, Chan HP, Maibach HI. Produce-induced contact urticaria and dermatitis: Solanaceae and Alliaceae. Contact Dermatitis 2009 Mar;60(3):174-176

[ 2 / 3 ]

Risk of contact dermatitis in susceptible people.

Reorganization process. Data in process of being reorganized. Editorial staff 2006

[ 3 / 3 ]

Asthma and hand dermatitis to leek. (Cadot 2001 ref.6825 1)

Cadot P, Tits G, Bussels L, Ceuppens JL. Asthma and hand dermatitis to leek. Allergy 2001;56(2):192-3

Non-Immune reactions

[ 1 ]

Flatulence or 'wind' production.

When the skin of this plant is damaged it releases thiopropanal S-oxide, which is lachrymatory.

Reorganization process. Data in process of being reorganized. Editorial staff 2006

[ 2 ]

Every drug that possesses an active thiol group in its molecule is capable of inducing pemphigus. Some plants, in particular those belonging to the Allium group, contain several active compounds with stable disulfide and thiol groups in their molecule,and could contribute to the induction of pemphigus. (Brenner 1994 ref.2373 4)

Brenner S, Wolf R Possible nutritional factors in induced pemphigus. Dermatology 1994;189(4):337-9

Occupational reactions

[ 1 ]

Occupational rhinitis due to inhalation of leek juice. A 35-year-old woman had been peeling leeks for 10 months, when 6 months after starting this work, she began experiencing conjunctivitis and rhinitis without asthma or eczema on her hands. She tolerated ingestion of leek, garlic and onion. A prick-to-prick test with raw leek leaf and leek bulb was positive. A conjunctival challenge with raw leek juice was positive. A nasal challenge was positive.
(Armentia 2005 ref.10183 4)

Armentia A, Lombardero M, Fernandez S, Asensio T, Martin G, Callejo A, Fernandez A. Occupational rhinitis to leek (Allium porrum). Allergy 2005;60(1):132-3.

[ 2 ]

Foods were tested by the scratch-chamber and open application techniques in 80 hand dermatitis patients, 55 of whom were food handlers. Both immediate and delayed reactions were seen. Most immediate scratch-chamber test reactions were provoked by vegetables and spices in patients with birch pollen allergy, and most delayed reactions from spices in patients with allergy to balsam of Peru, and from onion and leek. The evaluation of allergic and irritant reactions was difficult. Positive open application tests were seen in about 75% of patients with immediate or delayed scratch-chamber reactions. Immediate reactions from vegetables, fish and meat, and delayed reactions from orange and lemon peel and onion showed the best clinical relevance. Wet work, surface active agents and other irritant factors were considered the main causes, and food allergies as contributory factors only in food handler hand dermatitis. (Niinimaki 1987 ref.2344 4) Many cases of dermatitis seen in the industry are due to contact with the peel and oil, and not with the juice.

Niinimaki A. Scratch-chamber tests in food handler dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis 1987;16(1):11-20

Information supplied from an abridged section of:
Allergy Advisor - Zing Solutions

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Allergy Advisor  - Food Additive and Preservative Allergy and Intolerance Database