Lemongrass is a widely-used herb in Asian dishes as well as in herbal teas and in essential oil form. Lemongrass allergy is considered uncommon but capable of triggering the typical food allergy symptoms if swallowed or even allergic contact dermatitis if directly handled.
Any undesirable symptoms that manifests after using lemongrass should be discussed with a doctor. It is recommended to discontinue use until the doctor provides further instructions.
Close look on food allergy
Lemongrass is not included in the list of common food allergies but once ingested as an herb in a dish or herbal tea, it triggers the development of food allergy symptoms. This reaction occurs once the body wrongly identifies lemongrass as a threat.
The body reacts by releasing antibodies and chemicals including histamine. This causes the soft tissues to constrict in which they become inflamed and swollen.
What are the indications if I have lemongrass allergy?
The reactions typically involve the respiratory system, skin and digestive tract. The indications might develop in just a few minutes or up to 2 hours after ingestion of the herb.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- Abdominal cramps
- Skin irritation and itchiness
What is allergic contact dermatitis?
Allergic contact dermatitis is a skin reaction that occurs once the skin is directly exposed to lemongrass. It is widely used as an essential oil that is applied on the skin as fragrance.
If the individual is allergic, applying the oil on the skin can trigger redness, inflammation, pain and itchiness within minutes. Once this occurs, you should wash the area using water and soap and apply a cold compress or hydrocortisone cream.
Just like with other allergies, a severe reaction can occur if the individual is highly sensitive. Anaphylaxis is a severe bodily reaction that can be deadly if not promptly treated.
The indications of a severe reaction include the following:
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart rate
In case these symptoms manifest, you should call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department right away.