Lemongrass is basically an herb that is widely used in Asian cooking, herbal teas and as an essential oil. Depending on how lemongrass is used, it can help determine the type of allergic reaction a highly sensitive individual will experience. It is important to note that an allergic reaction to lemongrass is unlikely to occur but capable of triggering the common food allergy symptoms if ingested or allergic contact dermatitis if applied on the skin. Any undesirable symptoms that manifest after using lemongrass should be discussed with the doctor. It is recommended to discontinue usage until further instructed by the doctor.
Lemongrass is not included in the list of common food allergens that can trigger an allergic reaction. On the other hand, once the food is ingested as an herb in a dish or in herbal tea, highly sensitive individuals can develop the distinctive food allergy symptoms.
Food allergy occurs once the body wrongly identifies lemongrass as a threat to the body. The body reacts to the presence of the herb as an intruder by producing antibodies and chemicals such as histamine. This will cause the soft tissues to constrict, become inflamed and swell. This is responsible for triggering most of the food allergy symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of food allergy can affect the digestive system, respiratory system and the skin. The symptoms can initially develop within a few minutes or up to 2 hours after consumption of the herb. The sinuses and lungs are the primary parts of the respiratory tract that are affected. The individual develops shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion, chest tightness, sneezing, runny nose and postnasal drip.
As for the digestive system, it can respond with bloating, gas, diarrhea, cramping, nausea and vomiting. The skin can become itchy, irritated and develop eczema or hives.
Allergic contact dermatitis
This is an allergic response of the skin that manifests once the individual handles lemongrass. It is important to note that lemongrass is commonly used as an essential oil that is applied on the skin for its fragrance.
If an individual is allergic, placing the oil on the skin can trigger a reaction within minutes. The skin turns red, itchy and inflamed. Once this occurs, you have to cleanse the affected area using water and soap, apply a cold compress and hydrocortisone cream. It is best to consult a doctor for further assessment.
Just like with any allergic reaction, a severe response can occur if the individual is highly allergic to lemongrass. Anaphylaxis is a systemic reaction that can result to death if not treated right. The indications of anaphylaxis include the following:
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart rate
Once these symptoms start to manifest, call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.