Chili Pepper Allergy Test
Latin name: Capsicum frutescens
Common names: Chili Pepper, Chili
Chili pepper is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
NB: Chili pepper should not be confused with either of the two unrelated families which have members called pepper: Solanaceae, the potato family, and Piperaceae, the pepper family, including white and black pepper.
Chili Pepper Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Chili peppers originated in tropical regions of the globe, and were introduced to Western countries via the spice trade. The main producers of chili peppers today are China, Japan, Malaya, the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, the Middle East, and Spain, and they play an important role in various national cuisines around the world.
The pods (whole or chopped) may be used as a seasoning and garnish for a plethora of savoury dishes. Chilli peppers tend to be eaten in very small amounts as spices or condiments, due to their strong flavours. The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and related compounds known as capsaicinoids.
They are also commonly used in sauces which combine the chillies and their derivatives with tomatoes, vinegar and spices. Powdered chili pepper is widely available. Chilies can also be dried to preserve them for long periods of time, or alternatively pickled.
Capsaicin derived from chili peppers is used as a food additive or as an over-the-counter topical agent for treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, and arthritis.
Chili Pepper Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in chili pepper have been characterised to date. However, two allergens have been characterised from sweet pepper, and it is thought that chili pepper may contain similar allergens. These are a thaumatin-like protein and a profilin.
Chili Pepper Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
Extensive cross-reactivity between the different individual species of the genus could be expected, but in fact does not occur frequently.
Cross-reactivity to other plants containing the panallergens profilin and Bet v 1 could be expected to occur frequently.
Chili Pepper Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Chilli pepper has been implicated as a cause of eosinophilic esophagitis.
In a study of 16 men and 7 women aged 18-57, nineteen had serum IgE specific for one or more food-associated allergens, with wheat, tomato, carrot, and onion identified most commonly. Sensitisation to chilli pepper was documented in 2 patients (9%).
A 22-year-old woman with urticaria, dyspnoea and asthma-like attacks after eating curried rice was shown to have immediate-type allergy caused by the spice contained in curry spice. A complicating factor was that she also experienced pollen-food allergy syndrome, with symptoms from melon and latex allergy. She was found to be skin-prick test-positive to (among others) cumin, fennel, dill, fenugreek, cayenne (chilli pepper), ginger, cardamom, garlic, garam masala, mustard seed, and coconut milk.
‘Hunan hand’ is a contact dermatitis resulting from the direct handling of chilli peppers containing capsaicin.
Chronic occupational exposure to chilli peppers is associated with complaints of coughing.
Gustatory rhinitis has been attributed to chilli pepper, among other causes.
Pungent-fruited peppers may cause painful irritation when used in excess, or after accidental contact with the eyes.