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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

FDA Poisonous Plant Database

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AUTHOR(S): Campolmi, P.; Lombardi, P.; Lotti, T.; Sertoli, A.
TITLE: Immediate and delayed sensitization to garlic.
YEAR: 1982 CITATION: Contact Dermatitis, 8(5), 352-353 [English]
FDA #: F06732
ABSTRACT: Garlic and onion as well as nickel, chromium and cobalt are chiefly responsible for occupational allergic contact dermatitis in food handlers (1). In November 1979, a 34 year old male cook was examined at the Allergology Unit of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Florence. His personal and family history revealed nothing of note; in particular there was no mention, or indication of allergy to garlic as a food. He showed hyperkeratotic, scaly, chapped lesions on the palmar surface of the thumb, and the fore and middle fingers of the left hand, and on the first two fingers of the right hand. Morphologically the lesions were identical to those characteristic of an irritant contact dermatitis. The patient said that these lesions had been preceded by itching and blistering which worsened following contact with garlic. Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is a perennial plant belonging to the Liliaceae family. Allium cepa or onion, Allium porrum or leak, Tulipa or tulip, Lilium candidum or white lily, Hyacinthus orientalis or hyacinth, Convallaria majalis or lily of the valley, belong to the same family, which contains proteins, lipids, glycides and essences. The latter consist mostly of allyl sulphide, propyl sulphide, allyn (sulphur glucoside), and allicin an unstable substance which turns into allyl sulphonic acid which in turn produces allyl polysulphurs and disulphurs. Patch tests with haptens chosen according to anamnestic findings, including drugs for topical use and a range of oleoresins from the most commonly sensitizing vegetables (Table l)gave negative results. Positive reactions were obtained with alcoholic extracts of garlic following the technique described by Bleumink et al. (1), and using 5% allyl disulphide in vaseline as recommended by Hjorth & Roed Petersen Table 1. Oleoresins and vegetables tested Tansy Tanacetum vulgaris Tanaceto Lettuce Lactuca sativa Lattuga Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum morifolium Crisantemo dei fiorai Cornflower Centaurea cianus Fiordaliso Dalhia Dahlia spp. Dalia Aster Aster spp. Astro Chicory Chicorium intybus Cicoria Coreopsis Coreopsis spp. Bel figurino Wild feverfew Parthenium hysterophorus ¿ Giant ragweed Ambrosia trifida Ambrosia Burweed Iva anthifolia ¿ Short ragweed Ambrosia artemisifolia Ambrosia Blackeyed susan Rudbeckia hirta --- Sagebrush Artemisia absinthium Assenzio Goldenrod Solidago virga aurea Verga d¿oro Sunflower Helianthus spp. Girasole Ragweed false Franseria spp. ¿ Burdock Arctium lappa Bardana Cocklebur Xanthium strumarium Bardana minore Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale ¿ Dog fennel Anthemis cotula Camomilla mezzana Yarrow Achillea Millefolium Millefoglio and Mitchell (3). Intradermal tests and RAST gave positive results with garlic. The co existence of positive immediate and delayed reactions (due to the protein and non protein components of garlic) suggest that different types of contact, exogenous or endogenous, may induce a combined cell and IgE-mediated sensitization. We wish to emphasize the nature of these symptoms because it serves to point out that some cases of so called 'housewives eczema' may actually be contact dermatitis to unknown haptens. References 1. Bleumink E, Mitchell J C, Geissman T A, Towers G H. Contact hypersensitivity to sequiterpene lactones in Chrysanthemum dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis 1976:2:81 88. 2. Hjorth N, Roed Petersen J. Occupational protein contact dermatitis in food handlers. Contact Dermatitis 1976: 2: 28. 3. Mitchell J C. Contact sensitivity to garlic (Allium). Contact Dermatitis 1980: 6: 356-357.
GRIN #: 2368 Exit Disclaimer
LATIN NAMEAllium sativa