oa South African Medical Journal - Allergic sensitivity to the castor bean (ricinus communis) : South african cases of vasomotor rhinitis and bronchial asthma caused by the inhalation of castor bean dust

Volume 24, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



South African cases of hypersensitivity to the inhalation of castor bean dust are descriptionbed. They are similar to cases already reported overseas in that they are characterized clinically mainly by coryza and bronchial asthma. Castor bean sensitivity may be associated with workers in castor oil mills and fertilizer factories or in persons living in the vicinity. In addition, farmers, merchants and others handling the castor bean cake may develop sensitivity thereto as well as laboratory workers handling the bean for botanical studies or for chemical analysis. The dangerous nature of castor bean as an allergen is emphasized and a warning is given with regard to the use of the extract when skin-testing persons suspected of being sensitive to the bean. The question of desensitizing castor bean sensitive patients is discussed and it is suggested that whenever possible the patient should be advised to avoid contact with the castor bean rather than be subjected to the risk of severe reactions associated with the injection of so potent an allergen.

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