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(Olive family)


600 species in 29 genera are of cosmopolitan distribution, especially being found in temperate and tropical Asia.

[Summary yet to be added]

Forsythia Vahl

One species is found in south-eastern Europe, six species in eastern Asia.

McCord (1962) noted the availability of a commercial extract of the plant for patch testing. Hjorth (1968) observed two positive patch test reactions to the plant.

Fraxinus L.

70 species are found in the northern hemisphere especially in eastern Asia, North America and the Mediterranean region.

Dermatitis from ash wood was observed by Weber (1953) and Shalupenko (1962). Champion (1965) reported dermatitis in a woodcutter's wife, due to contact with her husband's working clothes. She was sensitive to the lichen Lecanora conizaeoides growing on ash bark, but not to the wood itself.

Lovell et al. (1955) observed a strong (4+) patch test reaction to "ash pollen oil" in a patient with allergies to various tree pollen oils who presented with an airborne contact dermatitis.

Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl
Narrowleaf Ash

In NW Moroccan traditional medicine, the leaf powder mixed with olive oil (Olea europaea L., fam. Oleaceae) is applied in the treatment of cutaneous infections (Merzouki et al. 2000).

Fraxinus excelsior L.
European Ash

The wood was listed as capable of causing dermatitis (Hanslian and Kadlec 1966).

Jasminum grandiflorum L.
[syn. Jasminum officinale L. var. grandiflorum Stokes]

Schwartz et al. (1957) referred to dermatitis from the plant.

Handling or wearing the flowers can cause contact dermatitis (Behl et al. 1966). Occupational dermatitis was observed in a flower seller; the eruption affected the fingers of a man who picked and sold the flowers during the flowering season which in India is March to August. A patch test to a portion of the flower produced a positive reaction (Bedi 1971).

Jasmine used as bracelet around the wrist and garland around the neck produced dermatitis in a woman (Behl et al. 1966).

Jasmine may have both irritant and sensitising properties; the fresh juice applied to corns is supposed to soften them; the leaves contain salicylic acid (Quisumbing 1951, Behl et al. 1966).

Oil of Jasmine may cause dermatitis in hypersensitive individuals (Greenberg and Lester 1954).

Jasmine oil (20 percent in petrolatum) was found to produce positive patch test reactions in 19/103 Japanese persons who had dermatitis from cosmetics; such positive reaction was found in 1/49 controls who had other dermatitis and in 0/42 healthy controls (Nakayama 1973, Nakayama et al. 1974).

In a case of dermatitis attributed to a jasmine bouquet type of perfume the offending agent was found to be benzylidene acetone (Bloom 1944).

Jasminum Absolute produced positive patch test reactions in some patients who were contact sensitive to cinnamic aldehyde. Jasmine Absolute may contain α-amyl cinnamic aldehyde (Schorr 1975). Methylheptine carbonate used for the production of artificial jasmine odours is a sensitiser (Tulipan 1938, Whitacre and Parsil 1950). An allergen of synthetic Jasmine used in perfumes is α-amyl cinnamic aldehyde (Schorr 1975).

Jasminum sambac Sol. in Aiton
[syn. Nyctanthes sambac L.]

The fragrant flowers from this plant, known as mohle flowers, are used to produce a scented tea (Mabberley 1987).

Patch tests carried out using the leaves of this species crushed in a small quantity of normal saline elicited a positive reaction in 1 of 4 contact dermatitis patients tested in New Delhi, India (Singh et al. 1978).

Ligustrum L.

Between 40 and 50 species are found from Europe to northern Persia, in eastern Asia and from Indo Malaysia to New Guinea and Queensland.

Dermatitis occurred in a person who trimmed a privet hedge (Davies 1939).

Ligustrum amurense Carrière
Amur Privet, Amoor Privet

This species was said to cause dermatitis (Shelmire 1940, McCord 1962).

Ligustrum lucidum Aiton f.
Glossy Privet

In traditional Chinese medicine, this shrub is described as a wax tree because of its use as a host for an insect (Coccus sinensis) that is farmed as a source of "insect wax" known as chung pai la. The wax is used medicinally to stop bleeding, and is regarded as a valuable remedy for wounds, being used together with the bark of Albizia julibrissin Durazz. (fam. Leguminosae) for this purpose. The wax is also rubbed into the scalp in cases of favus and alopecia (Stuart 1911).

Ligustrum vulgare L.
Common Privet

Citing earlier literature, Pammel (1911) ascribed irritant properties to this species, but may have been referring to respiratory rather than dermatologic effects. According to Morton (1969), this species when flowering can produce respiratory symptoms in persons within its immediate vicinity.

Olea europaea L.

The wood has been reported to cause dermatitis (McCord 1958, Senear 1933). Irritation by "olivewood" is mentioned by Legge (1907). Philip Smith (1920b) identifies this as an Elaeodendron species but according to Woods and Calnan (1976) who cite Boulger (1908), Olea sp. seems more likely. Contact dermatitis of the fingers from olives was reported by Waldbott and Shea (1948).

Contact dermatitis from olive oil, which is often adulterated, was noted by Greenberg and Lester (1954). Injection of olive oil into the eye of animals produces an inflammatory reaction (Grant 1972).

Olive oil comprises mainly triglycerides of which triolein forms a significant fraction. Essellier et al. (1955) reported that repeated intracutaneous injections of 0.1 ml triolein every 24 h (except Sundays) in healthy volunteers produced sensitisation (redness and swelling) accompanied by late flares at sites of earlier injections. The saturated triglyceride tripalmitin, by contrast, applied by rubbing into an area of scarified skin, failed to elicit a local reaction. Oleic acid was reported to cause dermatitis among stenographers handling stencil sheets (Hailey 1923). Oleic acid has irritant properties and has been suspected as a sensitiser (Greenberg and Lester 1954).

Syringa vulgaris L.
Common Lilac

The plant is said to cause dermatitis (Schwartz et al. 1957, McCord 1962).

The odour of lilac can cause hayfever (Biederman 1937).


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Richard J. Schmidt

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