Allspice is made from the Pimenta dioica
plant in the Myrtaceae
family of plants. Other plants in this family include clove, eucalyptus and guava.
After the fruits are picked and dried they are ground into a powder, it is also called Jamaica pepper and pimento.
The fruit from the Pimenta tree is a berry (fruit) and not a nut, so does not need to be avoided if you have a nut allergy.
Allspice contains eugenol which is a chemical compound which can cause contact allergies - it is found in the oil of the berry and is added to foods for flavour and fragrance.
There are no recorded allergens for allspice by the World Health Organization (WHO), because there have not been enough study into allergic effects from this food. If you are interested in what is needed by the WHO before they add an allergen to their allergen database you can check that out HERE
Allspice is a low FODMAP food. FODMAP
stands for F
olyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.
Allspice is very high in salicylates
. Salicylates have the potential to cause worsening of asthma, swelling, itching and hives as well as food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Eugenol is a contact allergen found in allspice which can cause contact allergic dermatitis.
Other plants which contain eugenol include basil, bay leaf, clove, cinnamon, turmeric, marjoram, mace, nutmeg, pepper, ginger, oregano and thyme.
These lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Allergen Encyclopedia - Allspice
ATP Science - Salicylate Foods
FODMAPedia - Allspice
Articles and Journals
Spice and Herb Frauds: Types, Incidence, and Detection: The State of the Art, 2023
Severe allergic reaction to allspice, a hidden food allergen, 2022
Biological Properties and Prospects for the Application of Eugenol—A Review, 2021
Essential oil eugenol: sources, extraction techniques and nutraceutical perspectives, 2017
Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from spices, 1996
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