Artichoke is in the Asteraceae family of plants which includes lettuce, camomile, tarragon and sunflower seeds.
Artichoke is most commonly eaten in Western Europe, but is not considered to cause allergy very frequently from ingestion.
Most of the case studies of allergic reactions due to artichoke are after occupational exposure, so those who grow, pick or process the vegetable.
The contact allergen in artichoke is Cynaropicrin, which is released when the plant is cut. This is a sesquiterpene lactone which is a compound known to cause allergic contact dermatitis.
Artichoke is a food 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.
Artichoke is a high 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.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Artichoke allergy is linked to allergic contact dermatitis, especially those who plant, pick and process the vegetable. This is because it contains sesquiterpene lactone.
Artichoke is in the family Asteraceae
, other plants in this family include lettuce, tarragon, sunflower seeds, camomile, chicory and endive. Contact with these plants might also elict an allergic reaction.
Other foods which can cause contact dermatitis due to sesquiterpene lactone include lettuce and spinach. A variety of plants including sunflower, ragweed and mugwort can also cause contact allergic reactions.
These food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
DermNetNZ - Artichoke
Science Direct - Cynaropicrin
ATP Science - Salicylate foods
Healthline - High FODMAP Foods
Science Direct - Sesquiterpene
Articles and Journals
Airborne allergic contact dermatitis to artichoke (Cynara cardunculus L.) in a greengrocer, 2023
Occupational Contact Dermatitis Caused by Artichokes, 2023
Contact sensitivity to sesquiterpene lactone mix and artichoke in a patient with severe recurrent dermatitis: A puzzling case, 2023
Persistent contact dermatitis following use of laurel oil, 2022
Lettuce Allergy and Hand Eczema, 2020
Asteraceae species as potential environmental factors of allergy, 2019
Allergy to artichoke: a case reportL’allergie à l’artichaut : un cas clinique, 2014 (abstract in English)
Allergy to pomegranate and artichoke, novel food allergens of the Mediterranean diet, 2013
Occupational rhinitis and bronchial asthma due to artichoke (Cynara scolymus), 2003
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