Spice allergy evaluated by results of patch tests

Cutis. 1993 Nov;52(5):288-90.


Allergic contact dermatitis caused by spices is well documented; however, commercial patch tests are unavailable. Between October, 1991, and August, 1992, a series of fifty-five patients with suspected contact dermatitis were tested at Ochsner Clinic for sensitivity to a group of spices at concentrations of 10 percent and 25 percent in petrolatum. Concordant patch test results (positive at concentrations of 10 percent and 25 percent) were most common with ginger (seven), nutmeg(five), and oregano (four); the remaining spices produced zero or one positive responses. Patients exhibiting positive reactions at only one concentration were more likely to do so at 25 percent: nutmeg (five), ginger and cayenne (four), curry, cumin, and cinnamon (three), turmeric, coriander, and sage (two), oregano (one), and basil and clove (zero). Solo responses at this level may represent a threshold for detecting true allergy or, as an alternative, a marginal irritant reaction. Those responding to only 10 percent concentrations generally did so weakly. Three patients were deemed to have relevant patch test responses to spices.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patch Tests*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Spices / adverse effects*