Do you react to onion and garlic? You could be sensitive to alliums!

Allium is a large group of flowering plants that has more than 500 species including:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Leek
  • Chives
  • Shallots
  • Scallions/Spring onion

What are the common symptoms of Allium intolerance?

Allergy to allium is possible but very rare. If you’re experiencing symptoms after consumption, it's much more likely that you have a sensitivity or intolerance to one or more of the allium species. Look out for symptoms like:

  • Bloating and distention
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Reflux
  • Diarrhoea
  • Red rash/bumps, itching, or general redness of the skin (usually on contact)
  • Hives
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Headaches or Migraines

What could you be reacting to?

It’s the chemicals found in some alliums, rather than alliums themselves, that are known to spark symptoms. Notably:

  • Allyl - an organic compound found naturally in garlic and onion
  • Allyl sulfides - sulfur-rich compounds, high in fresh onions
  • Allicin - an organosulfur compound, high in fresh, raw or crushed garlic
  • Sulphur – high in fresh onions
  • Cysteine sulfoxides – which contributes to the characteristic taste of all the species
  • Oligosaccharides – the carbohydrate component of alliums

How can you reduce your intake?

Alliums can be hard to avoid when cooking, so here are some handy tips to reduce your intake:

  • Make your own stock – Most commercially made stocks, broths or seasonings contain ingredients from the allium family. It's best to make your own or buy stocks that are labelled 'FODMAP friendly’ as they’re unlikely to contain garlic or onion.
  • Substitute Leek – Look for Asafoetida (or ‘hing’), the dried and ground rhizome of a herb used in Indian cooking, which has a strong taste that's reminiscent of leek. Asafoetida is available from Indian grocers and some health food stores.
  • Try herbs, spices and infused oils – have some fun by exploring different flavours and ingredients. For example, exchange the garlic for a FODMAP-friendly ingredient like chives or garlic infused oil.
  • Be selective – some people with allium sensitivity are able to tolerate the milder (green) part of spring onions.

Want to reduce your reactions to alliums? Try our natural allergy treatment...

At HWA, our Naturopaths use a form of muscle testing (kinesiology) to pinpoint your individual triggers. Following this, we perform a natural allergy treatment called Positive Association Technique (PAT), which aims to reduce your reactions to food and environmental triggers and reduce your allergy-related symptoms.

PAT is a non-invasive holistic therapy, which:

  • draws on acupressure and kinesiology techniques
  • aims to re-train your body
  • may reduce your reactions to food and environmental substances that may be causing or exacerbating your allergy symptoms

This blog is intended as general information only. PAT cannot diagnose or cure allergies – it is intended to decrease reactions and help manage symptoms. It is not intended to raise unrealistic expectations. If symptoms persist, consult your GP.

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