Curry (Santa Maria) Allergy Test
Source material: Curry, consists of blended spices (Coriander, Turmeric, Fenugreek, Cayenne, Fennel, Cumin and Black pepper), as manufactured by deliverer Santa Maria, Sweden.
Common names: Curry, Curry powder, Curry paste
Curry (Santa Maria) is a spice mix which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
NB: Curry as a spice mix is not to be confused with the leaves of Helichrysum italicum, or of Chalcas koenigii (the curry tree)
Curry (Santa Maria) Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
In common English usage, “curry” refers to Eastern-style spice mixtures – powders or pastes – or the dishes they flavour, most typically vegetable or meat dishes served with rice and chutney.
Curry mixtures originate in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. They differ hugely in their ingredients and tastes, not only among but also within countries.
Curry powder was historically designed as a convenience flavouring for British colonial officers used to Indian food in an attempt to imitate the taste of curry leaves (which quickly lose their flavour when picked).
Curry pastes, on the other hand, tend to have developed without Western influence. Both pastes and powders, however, are now very widespread in the West due to cosmopolitan trends in cooking, and come in many commercial forms.
Curry (Santa Maria) Allergy Test: Allergen Description
See the individual spices (listed under Source material in the sidebar) for details of specific allergens.
Curry (Santa Maria) Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
As curry comprises various spices, cross-reactions would depend on the particular spices an individual is sensitised to. However, a high correlation between the presence of skin-specific IgE to spices, especially to curry and its components, and allergy tree pollens, fruits and vegetables has been reported, suggesting that there may be a group of cross-allergies.
Curry (Santa Maria) Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Spices may uncommonly induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals. Symptoms are usually mild but vary from itching and smarting of the lips and mouth to anaphylaxis.
Most allergic reactions produced by spices are the result of ingestion, and spices usually act as “hidden” allergens, which is potentially very dangerous because even minute amounts can cause systemic reactions and anaphylactic shock.
A number of studies have evaluated the prevalence of curry and spice hypersensitivity.
In a study in which scratch tests with common spices were performed on 1,120 atopic and 380 non-atopic patients, positive reactions were seen almost exclusively in atopic individuals. Curry and paprika produced reactions most frequently.
A number of reports have described anaphylaxis to curry. Anaphylaxis to curry powder was reported in a 26-year-old nurse who developed severe bronchospasm. Initial symptoms were generalised itching, diarrhoea and stridor, which were reproduced 20 minutes after an oral challenge of curry and rice. The causative allergens in the curry were narrowed down to cardamom and fenugreek.
Curry may result in hypersensitivity reactions in individuals working in the food industry. A 26-year-old man, working with a variety of spices in the food industry, developed asthma and rhinitis on inhalation of dust from spices during the working week. In his third year at the factory, symptoms progressed to severe dyspnoea with wheezing, especially at night.
Non-allergic, irritant reactions from this and other spices are common.