BAY LEAF ALLERGY
Bay leaves are harvested from the Laurus nobilis plant. These are in the Lauraceae family of plants which includes avocado and cinnamon.
No allergenic proteins have been identified in bay leaves, but it is usually associated with allergic contact dermatitis due to the high concentration of essential oils it contains. It contains eugenol, a chemical compound which can cause contact allergies - it is found in the oil of the leaves and is the component that adds flavour and fragrance.
A single bay leaf would be low FODMAP food, but two may be moderate. 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.
Bay leaves are high in salicylates. 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.
Bay leaves are associated with allergic contact dermatitis, mostly affecting those who pick, grow and process the plant.
Bay leaf is also associated with phytodermatitis, which is where the chemical compounds on the leaf transfer to the skin and cause blistering when exposed to sunlight.
Other plants which contain eugenol include allspice, cinnamon, basil, clove, turmeric, marjoram, mace, nutmeg, pepper, ginger, oregano and thyme.
These food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
DermNet NZ - Allergic contact dermatitis to essential oils
Allergen Encyclopedia - Bay Leaf
Science Direct - Bay Leaves
FODMAPedia - Bay Leaves
Low Salicylate Diets
DermNet NZ - Phytodermatitis
Science Direct - Sesquiterpene
Articles and Journals
Biological activities of Laurus nobilis leaves, 2023
Persistent contact dermatitis following use of laurel oil, 2022
Bay leaf phytodermatitis, 2021
Biological Properties and Prospects for the Application of Eugenol — A Review, 2021
Essential oil eugenol: sources, extraction techniques and nutraceutical perspectives, 2017
Systemic allergic dermatitis caused by sesquiterpene lactones, 2016
Contact allergy and medicinal herbs, 2007
Contact allergy to food, 2004
Occupational asthma caused by aromatic herbs, 1996
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