Oregano is in the Lamiaceae
family of plants. Other plants in this family include basil, chia seed, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage and thyme.
Oregano is rarely linked to food allergy, to date there are no recorded allergens for oregano 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
Like most herbs oregano contains lots of essential oils which can act as an irritant and cause allergic contact dermatitis. It contains carvacrol, eugenol and thymol.
Oregano is often crushed and pressed to make oregano oil which is used to flavour food and remedies. These can still contain essential oils which can cause contact allergic reactions.
Oregano is closely related and similar in appearance to the herb marjoram.
Oregano is a low FODMAP food.
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.
Oregano 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.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
An allergy to oregano is associated with allergic contact dermatitis.
Other plants in the Lamiaceae
family include basil, chia seed, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage and thyme. If you have an allergic reaction to oregano you may also be allergic to one of the related plants.
Other plants which contain eugenol include allspice, bay leaf, basil, cinnamon, turmeric, marjoram, mace, nutmeg, pepper, ginger, clove and thyme.
Please note that 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 - Oregano
Science Direct - Oregano
ATP Science - Salicylate Food List
Articles and Journals
Approach to Idiopathic Anaphylaxis in Adolescents, 2023
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) and eugenol toxicity, 2022
Biological Properties and Prospects for the Application of Eugenol — A Review, 2021
Contact Dermatitis to Essential Oils, 2021
Angioedema Due to Lamiaceae Allergy, 2018
Spice allergy, 2011
Allergic Reaction to Mint Leads to Asthma, 2011
Labiatae allergy: systemic reactions due to ingestion of oregano and thyme, 1996
Spice allergy evaluated by results of patch tests, 1993
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