Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pomegranates

I've always been fascinated by pomegranates, ever since I heard the story of the Persephone in Greek mythology. She was captured by the god of the underworld, Hades, who wanted her to be his wife. When her mother, the spring goddess Demeter found her she insisted she be returned. Eventually it was agreed Persephone should stay with Hades for the same number of months she had eaten pomegranate seeds. As it happened she had only eaten six seeds - so that explained why winter lasts for six months.

The story makes even less sense when you eat a pomegranate and see how many seeds it has.

I bought two from Sainsbury's last week. They were much larger than normally sold in Britain and when I sliced one it bled, blood red. I ate half and that was probably too much.

It is the only red fruit I am allowed and I would like to find a cheap and easy source of pure pomegranate juice. If you see it in the supermarkets, it tends to be mixed with something else.

54 comments:

pf said...

An update: I've given up pomegranates. They are too messy to eat, you end up eating the pulp and I'm not sure that's salicylate free.

Harvey said...

Last night a friend served us a green salad sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Within a half-hour of my eating some of the seeds I began to break out in mouth sores. Two hours later the sores had spread to my lower lip, my tongue, and my gums. (I have eaten pomegranate seeds before, but not often, and not more than a few times in the last ten years; I am now almost 70.)
About five years ago I developed an allergy to mango, which produced blistering sores on my lips. My son, strangely, also has a mango allergy that began in his early twenties.
I have had similar but milder reactions to fresh pineapple, when I eat more than a typical portion.
The reaction last night was more severe than any reaction I've ever had to mango or pineapple. I know of nothing else in last night's dinner that might have caused such a quick allergic reaction.
Before bedtime, I took two benedryl pills. This morning the sores have diminished significantly and are less bothersome.
Searching online, I have so far found only one reported case of pomegranate allergy, which dates to 1991, and one mention in another site warning of vague reports of possible allergic reactions.
Can anyone throw any light on this? (Please answer to my email: HSmusic@verizon.net.) Thanks.

Amanda said...

My daughter is 4. I believe she has an allergy to the pomegranate seed. We were eating them on Thanksgiving this year and she had a severe reaction, her whole face swelled, coughing and hard time breathing. We are having allergy tests done soon.

Maddie said...

Add me to the list of allergic! I am 41 and have always been allergic to pomegranates...severe facial and tongue swelling with restricted throat etc. Something else to consider/avoid is grenadine which is in many mixed cocktails. And nowadays with pomegranate juice being in a lot of beverages,it pays to read the label!!!
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm allergic to pomegranates and think it's the weirdest allergy to have. May I ask everyone's backgrounds? I'm Irish/Italian/English/German.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I wonder if the mango allergy has to do with the mango being in the poison ivy family...

gracefulwing said...

I found I was allergic to pomegranates after chugging a whole bottle of pomegranate soda. I broke out in hives ALL over, even on the soles of my feet and palms of my hands. This was when they weren't so popular, so it was easy to avoid, but now that isn't the case. I'm also allergic to acerola, which are very distantly related to pomegranates.

swayland said...

You can add me to the list too. I made a smoothie this morning and put some newly purchased pomegranate juice in it. 30 minutes later I was covered with a fine rash from my scalp to my ankles.

Anonymous said...

My daughter has several anaphylactic allergies, peanuts, treenuts, eggs, peas, beansprouts. My son has never suffered from allergies, but upon eating a new pomegranate applesauce today he had the worst reaction I've ever witnessed. Thank God his sisters epipen was at hand!

Maddy said...

Harvey, That's so weird, I'm allergic to pomegranate and mango too. Real ripe pinapple makes my throat itchy, but it's not too bad. This is it though, no other food allergies (maybe a little to melons, about as mild as pinapple though.) Maybe these three things have something in common.

Megan said...

I just ate a couple handfuls of pomegranate seeds about half an hour ago. Immediately made my tongue feel numb, after I tried to get up I felt very lightheaded and my breathing felt heavier than normal. My tongue started to hurt and swell even though there weren't any physical sores. My first reaction was to take some Benadryl just in case, then I researched the symptoms. Glad my instinct was right.
If I eat too much pineapple my throat and tongue starts to itch and hurt, but pomegranates are definitely scarier. Mangoes never bothered me though, I can eat a whole one and nothing.

Anonymous said...

I have eaten pomegranates many times before and never had a problem but when I had one around Thanksgiving this year I had an allergic reaction to it. Hives everywhere: my back, my legs, the shoulders, my ears, even the palms of my hands. And my lips and tongue swelled. I have no problems with any other fruits or food of any kind.

Anonymous said...

My 16 year old daughter loves pomegranate seeds - one of her favorite snacks this time of year. But last night, after eating maybe 1/3 of a pomegranate before bed, she came up with a bright red rash on cheeks and neck. I gave her 50 mg benadryl and asked her to let me know if her lips/tongue swelled or if she had difficulty breathing. About 10 minutes later she said her throat was feeling swollen, so we went to the E.R., where they gave her prednisone - said the 50 mg benadryl was the right thing to do, and not to have pomegranate any more!

She is also very very allergic to poison oak, and has had a horrible reaction to tangerine oil on her skin (a few years ago she peeled a tangerine and was just playing around with the rind on her skin - the next day she had what we thought was poison oak - it was all over her body, but worse where the tangerine rind had been. We later found out there is a contact dermatitis from citrus that is the plague of bartenders!

She also loves mango and pineapple, so we'll be on the watch. Yikes.

Oh, as to the question about ethnic background: English, German, Scots-Irish, Swiss, a tiny bit French and Dutch.

Anonymous said...

I have a severe allergic reaction to trees and grasses. My allergist has explained that there is a "cross" between people with allergic reactions to certain kinds of trees and certain kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Cross reactions
Allergies to a certain pollen are associated with OAS reactions to certain foods. For instance, an allergy to ragweed is associated with OAS reactions to banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini, and cucumber. This does not mean that all sufferers of an allergy to ragweed will experience adverse effects from all or even any of these foods. Reactions may begin with one type of food and with reactions to others developing later. However, it should be noted that reaction to one or more foods in any given category does not necessarily mean a person is allergic to all foods in that group.

Alder pollen: almonds, apples, celery, cherries, hazel nuts, peaches, pears, parsley
Birch pollen: almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas,[10] carrots, celery, cherries, chicory,[11] coriander, fennel, fig,[12] hazelnuts, kiwifruit, nectarines, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, potatoes, prunes, soy, strawberries, wheat; Potential: walnuts
Grass pollen: fig,[12] melons, tomatoes, oranges
Mugwort pollen : carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, parsley, peppers, sunflower
Ragweed pollen : banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, echinacea, artichoke, dandelions, hibiscus or chamomile tea
Possible cross-reactions (to any of the above): berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc), citrus (oranges, lemons, etc), grapes, mango, figs, peanut, pineapple, pomegranates, watermelon

Susan said...

Add me to the list of pomegranate allergy. I was eating this delicious fruit for about 2 weeks after a friend introduced it to me. After the two week period, my lower lip began to swell, my tongue felt weird and I was having a difficult time breathing>>>my throat was closing up. I began to think what I was eating that was different. Pomegranate! I let my doctors know. One of them told me that I had a mango allergy (which I knew about) and I wondered why he mentioned it. I looked it up on the internet and foudn out they are closely related. I have done more research lately and found out there is a protein that is similar to Pomegranate and mango that is causing the "allergy". I am also allergic to poison ivy (which mango is in that family), peaches and apple cider. Oh, well, found a fruit I fell in love with and have quickly walked the other way!

Hugs,
Susan

Possum said...

Gracefulwing - Re "I'm also allergic to acerola, which are very distantly related to pomegranates."

Eeek!!! Really??? I've been reacting to heaps of things & taking acerola Vit C...among other supplements, (including quercetin) to combat breakout reactions *rolls eyes*
I have now stopped all supplements, to try to get to the bottom of what exactly is causing these breakouts...

Hope acerola wasn't one of them, as all other Vitamin C is problematic!! A lot is derived from corn, or is ascorbic acid both of which are not good for me either... Nor are cabbage & potato!! I can't even rely on blackcurrant for Vitamin C as they are very high in salicyates...
Apologies if it appears I am hijacking this thread...but what do others do for Vit C?

Anonymous said...

Just found out today that I'm allergic to pomegranate. I had 1/2 of a large one last night, and within a few hours I was extremely dizzy and nauseous. I took my temperature, thinking it was the stomach flu, but no fever. I noticed that my pulse was really fast and I had trouble sleeping. This morning I was woken up by stomach pain. Trying to figure out what made me so sick, I remembered the time I had eaten a blueberry-pomegranate smoothie and my tongue got all swollen and itchy. The other time I've eaten pomegranate was in some pomegranate lemonade, but it was only 12% juice or something... I'm never going near that messy red fruit again!

Anonymous said...

When I've eaten poms, within a couple of hours, I throw up and have diarrhea, as if I have food poisoning. I assume that's an allergy, too...

bernergirl said...

Every time I eat something with pomegranate juice in it I feel hot, and my face gets flushed, and my heart starts to race. I have been trying to determine if it's because it's an anti-oxidant, or if it's just pomegranate. Anyone have any ideas on if anti-oxidants in general can cause such a reaction?

Anonymous said...

Just had some pomegranate seeds now, and had the oddest reaction I've had in my 25 years. I am anaphylactic, but have tolerated pomegranate seeds just fine up until today.
A few minutes after eating them, I felt a standard reaction coming, throat tightening, so I took some medication. But then my eczema acted up, and now I'm still itching all over my scalp, outer ear lobes (they turned red, became HOT, swollen and itchy), and hands are like a pair of scaly fish after I was finished with them. Also got a severe stomach ache alongside diarrhea!
Unfortunately, pomegranates, never again...at least intentionally.

RN said...

My son started taking the vitamin ALIVE and he broke out in hives, had a swolled lip and eye. Turns out this vitamin has pomegranate and this is believed to be the culprit. How long does everyone's symptoms last? He's been on prednisone for 1.5 days so far---looks better, but still a mild rash.

Anonymous said...

Again allergic to Pomegranates. My mother is allergic to melon. I get a lot of eczema so suspect I'm allergic to other items in my diet. Haven't had anything else quite as dramatic as the large 'targetlesions' on my legs thatI had with the pomegranates.

Anonymous said...

Pomegranate allergy, just discovered in February. Previously discovered I was allergic to Mango skins. Different allergy than Mango fruit. I have never had a reaction to the fruit before, but would get a reaction to prepared juices. Allergist did a blood test for the mango allergen and I had no response. So the likely culprit was pieces of the skin of the mango getting in the juice when it was processed at the plant.

Sunshine said...

Mango trees have a sap that contains a very strong urushiol, the same compound that is found lesser amounts in poison ivy and poison oak. This sap gets on the leaves and the skins of the fruit, and there is also a lesser amount found in the mango fruit itself. If you are allergic to the little bit of urushiol found in poison ivy or oak, then you should stay away from mango skins & leaves. If you are very allergic to the poison ivy, then you probably should not eat mangoes. I used to have maybe 4 mangoes a year, and get away with it. Then I changed my diet to a really healthy one, not knowing that I was allergic to mangoes, and I had a mango for breakfast on day 1, day 2, and day 4... Wow... The rash is just like poison ivy or oak, but way worse, & my blisters had blisters. I don't think that many people know about the link between mangoes and poison ivy, so spread the word.

Possum said...

Has anyone ever used a Body Shop cleanser that has pomegranate seed oil in it? I'm not sure if that is what I reacted to, but after using it a few times, my skin has been bad since... Obviously I stopped using it when I started reacting

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to read everyone's experience and comments about their allergic reactions to pomegrants. I've EXPERIENCED the same darn thing just last week before Thanksgiving! Ive always loved eating pomegrants and never experienced this until now! After a hot shower (of course, the hot shower triggered it), I was itching like crazy all over the body, including my butt, hands, head, neck, back, ears..you name it. My tongue swelled up and was so nervous that i wouldnt be able to breathe, but luckily i didnt panic. I took some benedryl and that helped alot. Holy crap - what a scary experience and it's a bummer I cant eat pomegrants anymore. Im glad to hear the other stories and that I am not alone.

Zaz Mal said...

I discovered last fall that i was allergic to pomegranates. Quick anaphylactic reaction after ate the fruit. 1 hour later, i was almost inconscient at the hospital. I had eaten this fruit twice before the reaction, had drank juice and ate fruits snacks many many times without any reaction! Even use pomegrenate soap. No reaction to my allergic tests, so i'm only allergic to the seeds... I found no informations about this type of allergy on Internet before i search for "pomegrenate seeds allergy". My allergologist told me that there's no link with other allergies, but i have pollen, nuts, leguminous and few other seeds allergies. Happy not to be alone with this problem... Origins mostly french and american indian.
My allergologist told me that mango are in the same family than walnuts and cashew nuts.

Zaz Mal said...

3 months after this reaction, still have swollen throat sensation, itchy skin (especially at the places that reacted most in november) and sore mouth after meals, especially supper. Few other syptoms too. Don't know what to do. No improvement since i stop to take cortisone in november. Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride (Benadryl) isn't changing anything to my condition. All advices are welcome ;)

Mercedes Esqueda said...

I ate two pomagranates in one day. And the next day i got a big rash. Im not sure if im alergic but im beat red and very itchy.

Anonymous said...

i too am allergic to pomegranite...i found out on my honeymoon in egypt back in september, i had around 6 seeds and within minutes my tongue throat n ears were itching very badly, and because ive witnessed my son having a very severe reaction where i had to perform cpr on him, this reaction to pomegranite really freaked me out, the on site doctor on our resort gave me some antihistamines n told me to come back if i had difficulty breathing, ive eaten them as a child but this was the first time in years id had them (im 28). i also get an itchy throat after eating grapes...i need to ask my doctor for an allergy test i think!!

Anonymous said...

I am 53 years old and of German/Polish descent. Just suffered my first reaction to pomegranates ever. While breaking one apart my nose started itchy profusely but I didn't know what it was. I was on pain meds because I had just had surgery and figured it was those. After I ate the pom my face got red and hot and my throat felt like it was closing up. Couldn't locate the benadryl so went to the ER and got IV benadryl and steroids which calmed the reaction immediately. Scary. No more poms even though I love them.

supernatural6694 said...

i can drink pomegranate fruit drinks without a prob. i have never eaten the seeds though. 2 days ago i was pulling the seeds out of a pomegranate for the first time and the juice kept squirting in my one eye. and then next morning my eye was really itchy and then later that day it started to hurt. now it hurts to blink a little and when i rinsed out my eye it was really red. i let it go then it went to just pink, and now its back to normal.
but my eye still hurts and itches. and fyi ive never had pink eye before so i highly doubt thats it. sound like pomegranate allergic reaction possibly?

Anonymous said...

I think my son may have a pomegranate allergy.Today he had some before bed and about 20 minutes later he complained of stomach pains. Then he got up to go to the bathroom his nose was running and his eye totally swelled. I gave him benedryl. Normally hes fine with most fruit but he does have a peanut, treenut and shellfish allergy and carries an epipen.He also has an allergic reaction to the cold.

Anonymous said...

I grew up eating pomegranates, we had a bush in our yard. I love this juicy fruit but I'm quitting after a severe allergic reaction. Big hives all over my body including my ears and scalp. It's horrible. After visiting the urgent care and getting a shot and now (second day) taking Prednisone I'm still in misery

Kath said...

I have never had a problem with pomegranates until recently. One day I put the seeds on me cereal & within 2 hours I was throwing up. Since I am gluten free I thought it was the cereal. Just recently I made a smoothie & added some fresh pomegranate seeds. Within 2 hours I became violently ill & had to call a doctor to get anti nausea medicine as I couldn't stop vomiting. It has taken me 2 days to recouperate Different reaction than most allergy sufferers but equally troubling

Anonymous said...

Within the last couple of months, I started eating pomegranates for their health benefits. Monday, I tossed a couple of handfuls of seeds into a quinoa and date salad. Thirty minutes later I was in the hospital with anaphylaxis - throat and mouth swelling shut. I never had a problem with mangos, pineapple, etc. but now I'm wondering if they're off my list because of my reaction to pomegranate. I learned about pomegranate allergies the hard way.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered researching the lyme disease bacteria's response to pomegranates? It may shock you and may explain some of the allergies suffered.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone researched the effect pomegranate has on the lyme bacteria? It may shock you and may explain some severe allergies to pomegranates.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone researched the effect pomegranate has on the lyme bacteria? It may shock you and may explain some severe allergies to pomegranates.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone researched the effect pomegranate has on the lyme bacteria? It may shock you and may explain some severe allergies to pomegranates.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone researched the effect pomegranate has on the lyme bacteria? It may shock you and may explain some severe allergies to pomegranates.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone researched the effect pomegranate has on the lyme bacteria? It may shock you and may explain some severe allergies to pomegranates.

Anonymous said...

I am 46 and very rarely have had pomegranates. Last night had a beautiful salad with a good amount of pomegranate seeds. Almost immediately my tongue burned, within a few hours my tongue, under tongue and inner cheek were laced with tiny sores. Thankfully reaction was not worse. Next day tongue swollen and sores are sore. Now I know. Thanks for sharing all!

Mare said...

i've had pomegranate drinks made from concentrate and had no problems what so ever. on new years eve i served a salad that had pomegranate seeds in it. i ate a TON of them. the next day i had a rash behind my ears. it quickly spread inside of my ears, to the back of my neck and to my face. my lips were swollen and then became very dry. i also felt like i had the flu for a short period of time. i'm not certain but i do think i reacted to the seeds.

Mare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I'm 32. On my 26th birthday I drank a Pomegranate Margarita and lost consciousness immediately (less than one minute, experiencing a numb mouth as the only warning sign). Allergist ran a blood test and discovered that I am allergic to mango (causes stomach irritation, but not serious). There wasn't a blood test for Pomegranate at the time. Does anyone know if there is one now?

Anonymous said...

I am Indian, female 43 years old. I eat pomegranates regularly, but last night I experienced extreme reactions for the first time after eating a rather large pomegranate. It started as a mild itch in the throat which I ignored. By early morning I woke with a constricted throat, difficulty breathing, and a painful and swollen tongue.I had difficulty opening my mouth wide also. I did not make the connection. I thought I was suffering from dehydration or low sodium, because I had been on fruit diet the previous day. Drank lots of water, ate some salt and waited. I did not feel any relief and started getting worried because I was alone at home and my husband is on a business trip for the next couple of days. Finally it subsided after two, three hours without any medication. I am wondering if it is the pomegranate, or some pesticide on the fruit.

Anonymous said...

I posted the previous comment. Just to add, I also felt a sense of doom. I am in the habit of getting very anxious and jumping to horrible conclusions, so I initially dismissed my aprehensions. Interestingly however I read that 'feeling a sense of doom' is also one of the symptoms of Anaphylaxis.

Unknown said...

I'm a 56 years old, I always have eaten and enjoy pomegranate, until 2 weeks ago, when I had a wonderful big pomegranate, 20 to 30 minutes later and I had a terrible cold symptoms, like itchy all over my body, feeling airway getting blocked, I wasn't able to swallow. I took zirtec (for seasonal allergic) and used my inhaler, since I always have seasonal allergies (especially to ragweed, and a few other things).
Thanks God for that medicine, I went to emergency room (NW in Tucson)... that was a waste of time, this type of reaction needs far quicker response....my own medicine saved my life. Next day I went to my family doctor, who prescribed an "Epi-pen" now I carry that always, hopefully I will never need it. I hope my story helps.

Anonymous said...

Like Kath I have become nauseous after eating pomegranate, although also with a headache/pain behind the eyes in a way thay that seems to be very like migraine symptoms - I don't suffer from migraine but have had these pain/nausea symptoms twice - both times within half an hour of the two occasions I've eaten pomegranate.

Dawn Skeels said...

I have eaten pomegranates all my life. I am in my 50s, German back round. This is my favorite fruit. I ate one a few days ago and broke out aprox 2 hrs later on face and entire body red,itchy. Hoped it was not the fruit. Forgot about the reaction. Had one tonight broke out again. I am not happy.

Anonymous said...

Great that I've found this blog, I too have an allergy to mango (which I used to love by the way untill one time it almosted suffocated me) the mouth swelling, belly, hands and feet itching and all that fear and stress that comes along but today Ive had raw pomegranate, within few minutes I got this itching on my arms and terrible crampy stomach (abdominal) pain that lasted for few hours! It occured to me that wasn't the first time, but usually I don't eat this much of it :( anyway...I'm Polish,35yo and looks like I'll have to say goodbye to pomegranate asap

LouLou said...

Hi Anonymous, i seem highly allergic to anything with pomegranate perfume! I am of English, Irish and German ancestey also.

LouLou said...

Hi Anonymous, i seem highly allergic to anything with pomegranate perfume! I am of English, Irish and German ancestey also.