A 6-year experience with compositae mix

Am J Contact Dermat. 1996 Jun;7(2):94-9.


A Compositae plant mixture consisting of short ether extracts of arnica, German chamomile, feverfew, tansy, and yarrow has been included in the standard series for several years (1985 to 1990) to study the frequency of allergic reactions to Compositae (Asteraceae) species. One hundred eighteen of 3,851 tested individuals gave a positive response (3.1%). Further tests with the single species of the mixture and some additionally tested extracts of chrysanthemums and laurel oil (bay leaf; Lauraceae) revealed a high percentage of reactions to feverfew (70.1%) and lower responses to chrysanthemums (63.6%), tansy (60.8%), chamomile (56.5%), arnica (51.8%), yarrow (51.8%), and the cross-reacting laurel oil (50.5%). Ten of 85 reacted to arnica alone. The results show that it is important to test Compositae extracts in patients with allergic contact dermatitis because these contain (in contrast to a mixture of pure sesquiterpene lactones) other constituents (e.g., polyacetylenes, thiophenes) that may also contribute to the acquired hypersensitivity. Unrevealed sources of hand and face eczema (including airborne contact dermatitis) might be diagnosed more frequently.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / immunology
  • Humans
  • Patch Tests
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects*
  • Plant Extracts / immunology
  • Sesquiterpenes / adverse effects*
  • Sesquiterpenes / immunology


  • Allergens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sesquiterpenes