Coriander allergy is quite rare and can often be linked to oral allergy syndrome. This means that people who react to different kinds of hayfever triggers such as birch, mugwort or ragweed may also be allergic to particular foods which cross react due to being very similar in make up or from the same plant group. Oral allergy often develops in adults or late teens and sometimes people can eat the food cooked, but if they eat it raw they will get hives and stomach upsets etc.
You can read more about oral allergy syndrome on the Foods Matter website in Oral allergy syndrome linked to Pollen allergies link.
Coriander is related to Mugwort which is linked to oral allergy in the following foods: Apples, carrots, celery, kiwi fruit, peanuts, some spices (caraway seeds, parsley, coriander, anise seeds, fennel seeds).
You would think that coriander, or as I like to refer to it, the spice of the devil, would be fairly easy to avoid if you’re also allergic to nuts and/or dairy. Add coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance the mix and you’re probably avoiding lots of the same things anyway, but many foods contain coriander as a flavour enhancer due to its distinctively strong flavour.
If you have an allergy to coriander you should avoid curries, curry pastes, garam marsala and spice mixes, Indian, Thai and Chinese food etc. Salads and sandwiches can often contain coriander. Be wary and carefully check soups, stocks, flavoured crisps and baked goods; it can be added to rye breads, biscuits and many free-from foods. Watch out for labels which carry the term ‘spices’ as this could mean the presence of coriander. Always check with the manufacturer.
Also coriander is also called cilantro, dhania or Chinese parsley so watch out these in ingredients lists too.
Coriander in the ‘spices’ ingredients label
As an example of coriander hidden in a spices label, I recently discovered Amy’s Kitchen, which many rave about and they do sound really tasty. However, they can probably attribute some of that taste to coriander.
I was tempted to just try this since it is free from dairy and tomato but I saw that it contain celery, another food I can’t eat, and then spotted the ‘spices’. Since people can be allergic to some spices I asked Amy’s if they could confirm which spices were included in this recipe and they were really helpful, replying the same day with:
“Thanks for your email. When we list “spices”, we mean herbs and spices like thyme, oregano, nutmeg etc. I just received a response from my Recipe Department and coriander is indeed in the Curried Lentil Soup.”
With such rare allergies, and let’s face it, people can be allergic to so many strange things, it’s not always listed on ingredients labels. Spices are a strange one as they can be listed together and rarely cause allergic reactions.
So if you’re not sure, always ask. Most companies will be really helpful, like Amy’s. And if you don’t have to avoid celery or corinader, please tell me how nice this soup is? or on second thoughts, don’t! I’ll only get jealous. If you fancy trying Amy’s Kitchen food, they do much more than just soup, visit their website at www.amyskitchen.co.uk.
The taste of coriander to me is vile. I know instantly whether there is any in a meal and have to stop eating it. This isn’t an allergy that causes anaphylaxis, just very nasty skin rashes and stomach cramps, which are still quite unpleasant. Cooking does seem to help but fresh coriander is the worst.
I will never forget making carrot soup for the first time myself and tasting it, before adding the coriander. Mmmm. Lovely. A success I thought. Then I threw in the chopped coriander and oh dear! I couldn’t eat a mouthful. Ruins a good carrot soup if you ask me!
However I can tolerate it cooked in curry pastes in a Thai Curry. Isn’t the body complicated? How does it know? What’s it bothered about?
What do you think of coriander? Do you love it? or hate it? Allergic to it? What happens when you eat if you do have an allergy like me?