Garlic

Author: Dr Marius Rademaker, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand,1999.

Common name: Garlic.
Botanical name: Allium sativum
Family: Liliaceae.
Origin: Central Asia.
Description: The bulb of garlic is made up of a cluster of small bulbets (cloves). The flowers are held in an umbel.
Uses: Food. Garlic has a long history of being used as a complementary medicine to protect against coughs and colds. It is commonly used as a poultice when it can cause very nasty burns. Traditionally also a vampire repellant!
Allergens: Diallydisulphide, allicin.
Allergy: Probably the most common cause of an allergic contact dermatitis on the finger tips. Most commonly it affects the thumb, index and middle fingertips of the non-dominant hand as a clove of garlic is held. Inhalation of garlic dust can cause severe asthma. Garlic poultices can cause significant burns (probably irritant).
Cross reactions: Onion, leek, chives.
Other information:  
Patch test: 50% garlic in arachis oil, diallydisulphide 5%.

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