Allergies are on the rise. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network reports that food allergies among children have risen about 20 per cent between 1997 and 2007. If you notice a strange reaction to consumption of or contact with mint, you could be allergic.
Mint allergies can appear in children or adults, sometimes with a sudden onset. People with a mint allergy can experience a numb mouth at the point of mint contact, headaches, stuffed-up sinuses, an upset stomach, hives and itchiness, and, rarely, anaphylaxis.
The best way to treat a mint allergy is to avoid foods and products containing mint and other herbs in the mint family. In the case of contact with mint and subsequent symptoms, treat with benadryl or another antihistamine, either topically or internally, depending on where the reaction is taking place. If your allergy is severe, keep an EpiPen handy.
Other Mint-Related Allergens
Other plants in the mint, or Lamiaceae, family include lavender, basil, catnip, grass jelly, lemon balm, oregano and horehound. Someone with a mint allergy may or may not also be allergic to these plants, but it is important to look out for cross allergies.
Salicylate and Linalool
Salicylate and linalool are compounds found in mint and other foods and products. Linalool is used as a fragrance and occurs naturally in plants such as mint and lavender; salicylate is used in anti-inflammatories, perfumes, solvents and other products and can be found naturally in many fruits and vegetables.
Try a fruity desert for a refreshing treat instead of mint. Use fennel, cinnamon or fruity toothpaste instead of mint, and a citrus mouthwash. A slice of lemon is a good mint substitute in a glass of water, and parsley is a cooling, breath-freshening herb you can use as a mint replacement in recipes.