Occupational respiratory allergic disease induced by Passiflora alata and Rhamnus purshiana

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1997 Nov;79(5):449-54. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)63042-6.


Background: There has been an increase in the incidence of occupational asthma along with better understanding of its pathophysiologic mechanisms and etiologic factors. There are no reports of patients with asthma and rhinitis to Passiflora alata (passion flower) and Rhamnus purshiana (cascara sagrada).

Methods: We describe two substances of plant origin as causal agents of occupational allergic respiratory diseases in a patient who worked in a pharmacy devoted to the manual preparation of products.

Results: Skin testing and Western blot confirmed the sensitization of the patient to these plant extracts in vivo and in vitro, respectively. Bronchial challenge confirmed the cause-effect relationship between the allergen exposure and the diseases.

Conclusions: We conclude that Passiflora and cascara sagrada are two new etiologic agents of IgE-mediated occupational asthma and rhinitis. The present study also serves to alert physicians to the risks associated with work in pharmacies devoted to manual preparation of plant extracts, emphasizing the importance of the use of protective measures in these environments.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Electrophoresis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Weight
  • Occupational Diseases / immunology*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plants / adverse effects*
  • Plants / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens
  • Plant Extracts