Help Trying To Find Common Allergen In Nuts...

Monique Reed monique at
Mon Nov 2 09:39:00 EST 1998

I think I can help make it a little clearer, being a nut allergy sufferer 

The person who told you peanuts are not nuts but legumes was correct--they 
are members of the Fabaceae.  Also, almonds are not nuts, but the seed of a 
peach-like fruit in the Rosaceae.  Cashews are the seed of a plant in the 

Pecans and Walnuts are nuts and are both members of the Juglandaceae.  It 
stands to reason that if you are allergic to one, you might be allergic to the 
other, since they are very closely related and have similar compounds.  
Hazelnuts (filberts) are in the same group of families and are more closely 
related than are pistachios (also not a nut), peanuts, and almonds.

I'm not sure what the specific allergen in walnuts and pecans is, and it might 
be different for different people.  (E.g., I can eat pecans till I burst, but 
one walnut and I'm in trouble.)  As a general rule, though, if you are 
allergic to something, you should be careful with close relatives.  That's 
not to say that something unrelated may not also cause you trouble because of 
a similar chemistry, but as a rule of thumb, it's wise to learn the relatives 
of your particular trouble foods.

Hope this helps,
Monique Reed
Botanist, Texas A&M

>I'm not a scientist, just a guy who has had allergies his entire life.  
>One thing I am trying to understand, I am allergic to nuts, they cause
>my throat to begin itching inside, and to close.  But it is a little 
>weird, I am not allergic to PEANUTS, and ALMONDS.  Sometimes I can eat 
>Cashews and Pistachios.  But, try a Pecan or Walnut, or any others and 
>ZAP.  Allergic reaction.

>So, I am trying to figure out why some nuts and not all for the allergic 
>reaction.  Is there a chemical that peanuts, almonds, cashews (that is a 
>change from when I was a child, then I couldn't eat cashews or almonds, 
>but always peanuts) lack that is in most nuts?

>That's is why I am posting.  I just want to talk to people who are into 
>plants, and not into drugs!  So, let me know your ideas.  One person 
>suggested to me that peanuts were not nuts, but legumes, but that doesn't 
>explain why I can eat almonds, cashews, ...



>Jeff Hamlin
>- CyberWare -

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