A look at a growing allergy to raspberry and other foods with latex and salicylates.
Aww, drat! After a few in-home experiments, I’ve got a strong suspicion that I have developed a mild raspberry allergy!
I got some lovely fresh berries from Stepp Orchards via Mother Earth Produce and had a handful right away. A bit later, I realized that my tongue was a little tingly and burning and that my stomach was rumbling and acidic. Then a few small itchy spots appeared on my arms. The next day I had raspberries again and later noticed a similar feeling. I recalled everything I’d eaten in the past two days, and only raspberries were both consistent and something I hadn’t had in a while.
Later that week, I happened to be at a lovely bar (The Thirsty Monk) and found that they had Framboise Lambic on draught. Delicious! I’ve often loved Lambic, and couldn’t pass up the chance to have it from the tap. It was just as I finished the first sip that I recalled that Framboise is French for raspberry – and just like that, my tongue was burning and the tart flavor gave way to a sharp metallic taste.
It has been one week since my first uncomfortable raspberry experience and there were a few left in the fridge just now. One final test. A handful of yummy, sweet, tart raspberries later, and the results are sadly the same. Acidy, achey tummy – a burning tongue, and oops…there’s a new itchy bump on my upper arm. I hope this is just a random glitch, as I really don’t want a raspberry allergy!
My next experiment is going to be with red raspberry leaf – a longtime herbal ally for menstruation, cramps, and grounding in states of emotional turbulence. I hope that my new sensitivity does not include the dried leaves that I’ve so often used for teas and medicines!
Update: December 14, 2013
Well, there’s good news and bad news. I still have a sensitivity to raspberry fruit, but I can drink raspberry leaf tea without problems! I accidentally “poisoned” myself the other night. I had a can of roll-out croissants and decided it would be nice to fill them with cream cheese and strawberry jam before I baked them. I whipped the cream cheese and jam together and everything was going well until I popped them in the oven, turned around, and licked the mixing spoon. My tongue began to tingle and I realized that the jelly jar had raspberries on the label – I accidentally grabbed the wrong jar from the fridge!
Since then I’ve done a bit more research. It seems that most people who have allergies to raspberries are actually allergic to Salicylates, a naturally occurring chemical found in many fruits and veggies. Salicylates are a pain reliever, and I first came to know them in the herbal arena because it is the main pain-relieving chemical in willow bark and aspirin. But when I looked through the list of salicylate-rich foods, I realized that I eat many of them quite regularly with no ill effect: avocados, apples, cucumbers, peppermint, broccoli, grapes, cheeses….the list goes on!
I’m really excited that I can drink raspberry leaf tea without any problems at all! Until I earn something more, I’ll assume that I am not allergic to salicylate and that there is something in the raspberry fruit that is not present in the leaves that is causing my negative reactions. I still ate one of those croissants, though. I’m quite stubborn sometimes. *sigh*
Update: May 29, 2022
Well, at this point I have to admit that this allergy is either a latex or salicylate issue. The tongue-tingling reaction also happens with avocado and bananas, and sometimes with overripe strawberries and pineapple! I love these foods so I’m quite bummed out. I will sometimes have a bit of avocado and I still munch on small bites of fresh pineapple and strawberries, but bananas are something I completely avoid. Even the smell of them makes my stomach roil!
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You may be fine with the tea because of the limited amount of raspberries but mostly because the raspberries are/were cooked. People who react to fresh raspberries and even fresh strawberries are often fine when the fruits are cooked and in another dish or recipe.
Thanks, Maggie! I’ll try, although jellies and wine with raspberries have caused reactions as well. Raspberry leaf is fine, too! I’ll try to cook some down at some point and see what happens. 🙂
have you considered getting tested for salicylate allergies? I think it is called a patch test and you don’t have to go to an allergist for it. your primary physician can order this kind of test for you.
Did your itchy bumps look like hives and did they come out immediately? My daughter who loves raspberries hd them this week for the first time and has had hived more than once and we aren;t sure whats going on, they come out hours later after dinner though
Debbie, the itchy bumps that I get aren’t the weepy sore kind of hives, but small red spots or splotches that aren’t very raised, but itch like the dickens. The tingling tongue comes first, then the tummy ache, and then the spots within an hour or so. I’ve found that black raspberries don’t bother me as much, though! Give those a try! 🙂
I think Maggie is right. There are allergies that only occur when you eat a raw food. But when it’s been cooked, the reaction changes. I never experienced it before, but I have heard it the same situation from friends.
I’ve found when accidentally consuming the fruit in any form, I almost immediately get stomach cramps… which progress to severe stomach cramps accompanied with nausea and 12 hours of vomiting & diarrhea. It is horrible… but all of the other symptoms you have mentioned are absent. No itching mouth or throat, no itchy spots on my body and no shortness of breath… What do you think is going on? Thanks for any help.
Gosh, I don’t honestly know, Debbie! If I were you, I’d go to a nutritionist or allergy specialist – that sounds like a way more severe allergic reaction than I have! 🙁 It’s a generally good idea to keep a notebook or something to write down your food experiences into to help trace patterns or similar sensitivities.
Sounds a bit like a fructose intolerance Debbie P
Thanks, Debbie! What gets me though, is that no other fruit does that to me…just raspberries! *shrugs* Oh, mysteries of life…
Please be careful as I almost died from eating them….also I have had severe burning skin from raspberry flavored bonine an anti nausea pill.
Wow, your allergy is WAY more intense than my own! Mine is about the same as it was when I first wrote this some years ago, but I also don’t test it out too often. Be safe with those raspberries, Shellie!
I had organic raspberries today (they was squashed abit but no mould or no mould I could visible see anyway) I washed them & eaten a small handful to which 3-5 minutes later if that I ended up calling 999 as I couldn’t breath properly (like I really thought I was going to die in my bathroom or I would not of made the call ) my eyes swelled up / itchy like mad, my nose started pouring & bad stool ! Then followed by massive hive rash all over my body after taking a antihistamine & the lovely ambulance people calming me down I started to recover I could finally catch my breath again after around 15-20 mins & has taken nearly 6 hours for the hives rash to go please don’t think this is a joke as I have never called 999 like that in my life & im 30
When I first discovered the allergy (my mid 20s), I only had the stomach upset/tingly tongue. But I could have it in very very small amounts.
About a year or so ago I mistakenly had something raspberry flavored (thought it was strawberry). My throat swelled shut. Not fun. So now I have to be VERY careful. Sadly blackberry does the same thing.
Yikes! That is something I’ll watch. Blackberries don’t bother me, and interestingly enough, neither do black raspberries! But I’m starting to tingle a bit with over-ripe bananas and over-ripe avocados. I wonder if it is latex-related because they all have a bit of natural latex in them?
Amber, I’ve just found this thread after searching about raspberry allergies. I have recently made a similar discovery to you, my symptoms are almost the same except I don’t get the tingly tongue. Stomach ache occurs quite quickly followed by persistent itching on my wrist later on. I was wondering if you ever got to find out what it was specifically in the raspberry that causes the problem? Did you ever take antihistamines to help? Did you ever seek further medical advice?
Thanks for your original post it had been some comfort to me.
Sorry for the delay in responding, Nigel! I have my suspicions that the raspberry response is linked to a latex sensitivity. I’ve started getting some of the same responses from banana and occasionally avocado – both other latex-containing fruit. I haven’t been tested by an allergist. I have tried antihistamines to no avail. Benadryl doesn’t really seem to help much with the hive reaction for some reason! I hope that helps, and good luck navigating your food!
Could be the histamines?
An allergy to raspberries can occur even in a small child. Before you give a whole handful, for a start, let him try, and trace the reaction.
I’ve had issues with a lot of uncooked fruits and veggies. I am allergic to a lot of trees and because of them I have the issues with the fruits. I would look at OAS and the cross pollination charts. The odd thing for me is that I can have red raspberries but my mom can’t, also I found out I can’t have blackberries but my mom doesn’t have an issue even though they are of the same fruit family.