Lovage Allergy Test
Latin name: Levisticum officinale
Common names: Old English Lovage, Italian Lovage, and Cornish Lovage
Lovage is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Lovage Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Lovage is believed to be native to the eastern Mediterranean, although some sources suggest it is native to much of Europe and southwest Asia. It has thin hollow stalks, growing up to 4 feet tall, with dark shiny leaves, and is generally harvested during the spring months.
It has been cultivated in Europe for hundreds of years for its roots, seeds and leaves which are used as a vegetable, a spice and a herb respectively. It is particularly associated with southern European cuisine.
Lovage has an intense flavour which has been described as similar to, but stronger than, a mixture between celery and parsley. It is often used as a substitute for celery, both the leaves and seeds, although in lower amounts due to its stronger flavour.
The leaves are used fresh in salads, or can be added to soups and broths as a flavouring, and are particularly popular in Romanian cuisine. The chopped leaves can be mixed with unsalted butter and used to baste or dress meat and fish.
The seed is used raw or cooked, whole or ground, as a flavouring in cakes, soups, and salads. The root has a strong, savoury taste and may be used as a flavouring or as a vegetable.
Dried lovage, as well as lovage seeds are used to conserve and to add flavour to pickled cabbage, cucumbers and other vegetables.
In the United Kingdom, lovage cordial is used in the preparation of an alcoholic cocktail alongside brandy, creating a popular winter drink.
A tea is made from the dried leaves but can also be made from the grated root.
An essential oil obtained from the root is used a commercial food flavouring in preserves, condiments, sauces, and a range of other foods.
Lovage has been employed in folk medicine to treat headaches, and as a diuretic and tranquiliser.
Lovage Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in lovage have been characterised to date.
Lovage Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the Apiaceae could be expected to occur frequently, and indeed this is supported by clinical reports. Other members of this family include anise, caraway, carrot, celery, dill, fennel, and parsley.
Lovage Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Anecdotal evidence suggests that lovage may induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals; however, no studies have been reported to date; it is possible that allergy to lovage, which is closely related to the significantly allergenic carrot and celery, occurs more frequently than has been reported.
The plant contains furanocoumarins, which may result in phototoxicity reactions. In fact, photosensitivity from harvesting lovage has been described.
Where present in a herbal product, lovage may increase the risk of bleeding or potentiate the effects of warfarin therapy.