Pumpkin Allergy Test
Latin name: Cucurbita pepo
Source material: Fresh peeled pumpkin
Common names: Pumpkin, Field pumpkin, Naked-seeded pumpkin, Cheese pumpkin, Pimpkin
Synonyms: C. moschata, C. maxima, C. mixta, Cucumis pepo
Pumpkin is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Pumpkin Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
The pumpkin is a gourd-like squash with a large, round, ribbed, edible orange fruit.
It is thought to have originated in Central America, possibly Mexico, but is now grown widely in temperate and tropical zones. Today, the biggest international producers of pumpkins include the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, and China. Pumpkins are a warm-weather crop that is usually planted in early July.
Pumpkins are one of the oldest domesticated plants, having been used as early as 7,500 to 5,000 BC.
The color of pumpkins derives from orange carotenoid pigments, including beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha and beta carotene, all of which are provitamin A compounds converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin C is also present in moderate amounts. No other nutrients are present in significant amounts.
Pumpkin can be boiled, baked, roasted, mashed or made into soup. The seed can be eaten raw or cooked, and oil can be extracted from it. The leaves and young stems can be cooked as a potherb, and the flowers and buds can be cooked or dried.
Often, it is made into pie, various kinds of which are a traditional staple of the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holidays. In Canada, Mexico, the United States, Europe and China, the seeds are often roasted and eaten as a snack.
The seeds and pulp are often used for medicinal purposes. The leaves are applied externally to burns. The sap of the plant and the pulp of the fruit can also be employed in this way.
Pumpkins have been used as folk medicine by Native Americans to treat intestinal worms and urinary ailments. The seeds were also used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis and for the expulsion of tape worms.
Pumpkin Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens from the pumpkin fruit have yet been characterised. Whether the allergens in pumpkin pulp are similar to those present in pumpkin seed has not yet been determined.
Pumpkin Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected, as well as to a certain degree among members of the family Cucurbitaceae. Clinical cross-reactivity has been demonstrated among pumpkin, pumpkin seed, muskmelon, watermelon, cucumber and zucchini.
The closely related zucchini has been implicated in latex-fruit syndrome.
Pumpkin Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Pumpkin can induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals.
Dermatitis, asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, itching of the mouth, angioedema of the face and lips, generalised itching and mild dyspnoea after eating pumpkin soup or thin vermicelli containing pumpkin have been reported in a patient.
An immediate-type reaction after contact with the pulp of butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata), resulting in dermatitis, has been reported.
Pumpkin seeds may be aspirated into the trachea in young children.