Anaphylaxis associated with the ingestion of Goji berries (Lycium barbarum)

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2011;21(7):567-70.


Goji berry (wolfberry), a member of the Solanacea family, has been recently introduced in Western countries and its consumption has increased rapidly. The objectives of the study were to describe the cases of 2 patients who experienced allergic symptoms after Goji berry consumption, to identify the protein profile of the extract, to analyze the allergenic profile of individuals, and to determine cross-reactivity with other members of the Solanaceae family (tomato). We describe 2 cases of allergic reaction, 1 of which was an anaphylactic reaction, after Goji berry ingestion. A Goji berry extract was manufactured and immunochemically characterized. The patients were skin prick tested with a battery of common aeroallergens including mites, epithelia, and molds. Individuals were also skin prick tested with food allergens, including Goji berries. A positive skin prick test and specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E to Goji berry was detected in both cases. Serum samples recognized a 9-kDa band, probably related to lipid transfer proteins (LTPs). Cross-reactivity with tomato was analyzed by inhibition studies, which showed that the 9-kDa band was totally inhibited by the tomato extract. This study describes the first 2 cases of allergic reaction following Goji berry ingestion. LTPs seem to be involved in allergic sensitization to Goji berries, as evidenced by cross-reactivity with tomato.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anaphylaxis / etiology*
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology
  • Cross Reactions
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lycium / immunology*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • lipid transfer protein