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Apium - Carum

(Umbellifer or Carrot family)


Apium graveolens

Varieties and cultivars are listed by Usher (1974):

Apium graveolens var dulce — Blanching Celery
Apium graveolens var rapaceum — Celeriac
Apium graveolens var silvestre 

Legraine and Barthe (1926) reported the case of a celery-gatherer who developed a pruritic papulo-vesicular dermatitis on the hands and face and commented that the eruption closely resembled that produced by cow parsnip (Heracleum). Henry (1933, 1938) reports dermatitis in 22 workers preparing celery for canning. In a case of celery dermatitis, Gelfand (1936) obtained positive patch test reactions to oil of celery. The oil was also implicated by Wiswell et al. (1948) and Palumbo and Lynn (1953). Klaber (1942) suspected a role of sunlight in dermatitis among workers who handled celery. 5-methoxypsoralen was isolated from Apium graveolens var dulce by Musajo et al. (1954). Birmingham et al. (1961) investigated dermatitis in celery-workers in Michigan and confirmed the opinion of field-workers that pink rot celery, that is celery infected with the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, evoked photodermatitis. The infected celery contained a photoreactive furanocoumarin: Scheel et al. (1963) isolated 8-methoxypsoralen and 4,5',8-trimethylpsoralen from celery infected with this fungus. Perone et al. (1963) obtained negative photopatch test reactions with uninfected celery and positive reactions with infected celery. Normal green Pascal celery contains 5-methoxypsoralen and the diseased celery contains potent photosensitising agents, 8-methoxypsoralen and 4,5',8-trimethylpsoralen (Pathak 1974). According to Nielsen (1970), Apium graveolens yields 5-methoxypsoralen and also 2',4,8-trimethylpsoralen. Dark-skinned labourers appeared to be immune whereas over one-third of the whites were affected (Wiswell et al. 1948).

Phototoxicity from fungus-infected celery appears to be the principal cause of celery dermatitis but probably allergic contact dermatitis can also occur as indicated by the patch test results of Wiswell et al. (1948) and Palumbo and Lynn (1954). Occupational dermatitis from celery and parsley (Petroselinum) was found in 10% of 182 persons in a rural population (Luppi and Bucchi 1970).

Three of three women contact sensitive to carrot (Daucus) showed positive patch test reactions to turnip-rooted celery; three of three also reacted to parsnip (Pastinaca) (Klauder and Kimmich 1956). Agrup (1969) observed a positive patch test reaction to celery. Alleged cross-sensitivity to orange and lemon (Citrus x limon Burm. f., fam. Rutaceae) appears to be anecdotal (Birmingham et al. 1961). The aromatic ingredient of celery is sedanolide, which is an isomer of cnidilide (Kariyone 1971).

Variety- or cultivar-specific allergenicity has been observed, the variety of celery named Pascal green being the most active sensitiser (Wiswell et al. 1948, Palumbo and Lynn 1954). The latter authors did not state the concentration of the extracted oil used for patch-testing.

Athamanta oreoselinum

This species yields furanocoumarins (Dean 1963) which are not known to be phototoxic.

Azorella Lam.

This is a genus of about 26 species of densely tufted, sometimes exceedingly long-lived xerophytes which are distributed from the northern Andes to temperate South America, and the Falkland and Antarctic Islands (Mabberley 2008). They were formerly classified by some authorities (Willis 1973) in the Hydrocotylaceae. A few species are occasionally grown as ornamentals by horticulturalists with a special interest in alpine or rockery plants.

In the Andes, the plants are alleged to produce blistering of the skin (Towers 1978).

Azorella diapensioides A. Gray

In an ethnobotanical survey of plants used in the Bustillo Province of Bolivia, Fernandez et al. (2003) reported that the plant (which is known locally as yareta or timichi) is used to prepare a cataplasm for application to bone fractures.

Bilacunaria Pim. & Tikhom.

According to Mabberley (1987), the genus comprises 4 species found in south-west Asia. They have previously been assigned to the genus Hippomarathrum Link. Mediterranean species of Hippomarathrum have been transferred to the genus Cachrys L.

Bilacunaria caspica Pim. & Tikhom.
(syns Echinophora caspica DC., Hippomarathrum caspicum Grossh., Cachrys caspica Yu. L. Menitskii)

The name of this plant was incorrectly published as Bilacunaria caspia by its original authors.

Nielsen (1970), citing Kerimov & Dranitsyna (1965) and Pigulevskii et al. (1967) who referred to Hippomarathrum caspicum, noted that the leaves, stalks and fruits of this plant yield 5-methoxypsoralen (bergapten) and 8-methoxypsoralen (xanthotoxin).

Bilacunaria microcarpa Pim. & Tikhom.
(syns Hippomarathrum microcarpum B. Fedtsch., Cachrys microcarpa M. Bieb.)

Nielsen (1970), citing Dranitsyna et al. (1965) who referred to Hippomarathrum microcarpum, noted that the fruits of this plant yield 5-methoxypsoralen (bergapten) and 8-methoxypsoralen (xanthotoxin).

Carum carvi L.

The fruits provide caraway seeds. The fruit and seeds were used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans as a condiment and are recorded in 1552 B.C. in the medical Papyrus of Thebes. Oil of Caraway may cause cutaneous irritation in hypersensitive individuals (Greenberg and Lester 1954). The plant is listed as a photosensitiser (Pathak et al. 1962). Carvone is derived from the oil of this and other plants (Furia & Bellanca 1971). Hjorth (1967) reported carvone to be the contact sensitiser in a case of toothpaste dermatitis but provided no clinical details.

Richard J. Schmidt [Valid HTML 4.01!]

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