Common Names: Melon, Common Melon, Winter Melon, Armenian Cucumber, Cantaloupe, Honey Dew, Muskmelon
Melons are probably natives of Asia, though they have been in cultivation for so long that their original habitat is obscure.
Melons are warm-season vine plants belonging to the gourd family. There are many cultivars, with fruit (gourd-like, but with sweet, very watery flesh) of many shapes, sizes and colours, e.g., Honey Dew, Muskmelon, Winter Melon, and Cantaloupe.
Melons are generally a dessert fruit, eaten raw in slices or cubes or blended with other cold desserts like sorbet. Their delicate flavour and high water content make them poor candidates for cooking and preserving. Their availability tends to be seasonal, but more-sophisticated transport is changing this in many locales.
An edible oil is obtained from the seed, but since the oil is difficult to extract, it is in little use.
The fruit can be used as a cooling light cleanser or moisturiser for the skin.
The fruit is used as a first aid treatment for burns and abrasions. The fruit is also stomachic. The flowers are expectorant and emetic. The seed is antitussive, digestive, febrifuge and vermifuge. The root is diuretic and emetic.
Melon is a fruit of the Cucurbitaceae family. Evidence suggests that melons were first cultivated in Egypt as early as 2400 BC, then spread slowly to Europe from Africa and Asia, becoming popular in Spain in the 15th century. From here it was introduced into America. Melon is mainly produced in semi-arid regions. California accounts for 70% of total USA production. Melon may be ingested fresh or cooked as in soup, stew, curry, stir-fry, or pickled, canned or used for syrup or jam. (Figueredo 2003 ref.8550 2)
Cuc m 1, also known as cucumisin, a plant serine protease. (Uchikoba 1996 ref.7717 3)
A Lipid Transfer protein has been detected. (Asero 2000 ref.3711 1)
Several IgE-binding components between 15 and 60 kd and a main reactive band of 13 kd were detected in melon extract with the pooled sera from patients with melon allergy. The 13-kd component was identified as a profilin. Sera from 71% of patients recognized the melon profilin, and therefore profilin is considered a major allergen. It is digested quickly in gastric juice. (Rodriguez-Perez 2003 ref.7557 2)
Chitin oligosaccharides elicited chitinase activity in melon plants. Chitinase elicitation was a rapid response to these elicitors: it occurred within 6 hours after treatment and was maximal at 12-24 hours. In addition, chitinase induction in melon plants by these oligosaccharides was both local and systemic. (Roby 1987 ref.7722 3) Whether this chitinase has allergenic potential was not evaluated.
IGE AND IMMUNE:
Allergic reactions. Usually immediate. Urticaria most common, but GIT and anaphylaxis have been reported. Oral and pharyngeal pruritis. Dermatitis. Angioedema. Diarrhoea. Itchiness of throat. Nausea and vomiting. Oral itching.
Fifty-three consecutive adult patients complaining of adverse reactions to melon were included in the study. Actual clinical reactivity was confirmed in 19 (36%) using using DBPCFC. The most frequent symptom was oral allergy syndrome (n = 14), but two patients experienced life-threatening reactions, including respiratory symptoms and hypotension. The positive predictive value for a skin prick test was 42%, and that for specific IgE measurement was 44%. Isolated melon allergy is rare, with most patients either having allergic rhinitis, asthma, or both and associated food allergies. (Rodriguez 2000 ref.4001 3)
The most common clinical feature associated with melon allergy is oral allergy syndrome (OAS). (Rodriguez-Perez 2003 ref.7557 2)
Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) (Asero 2000 ref.3711 1) (Ishida 2000 4493 1) OAS associated with immediate laryngeal edema after the ingestion of melon. The study reports the succesful treatment of fennel, cucumber, and melon allergy with pollen-specific injection immunotherapy. (Asero 2000 ref.3719 1)
Of 392 patients allergic to birch, grass and mugwort, cat or house dust mite, 92 were sensitive to apple, 68 to potato, 64 to carrot, 63 to celery, 61 to peach and 44 to melon. (Bircher 1994 ref.1713 2) (Bircher 1991 ref.220 43)
Anaphylaxis. (Schwartz 1987 ref.7721 3)
This study reports on a 24-year-old woman with ethanol-induced anaphylaxis who developed anaphylaxis following ingestion of overripe, but not fresh rock melon (Cucumis melo). The accumulation of endogenous ethanol in overripe fruit may occur. (Mallon 1997 ref.605 12)
The objective of this study was to evaluate and describe the clinical characteristics of melon allergy in melon-allergic patients. In a total of 161 patients included in this study: 66 were melon allergic and 95 pollen allergic (control group). The melon allergy group included 35 female and 31 male patients with a mean age of 26.6 years (range, 5-61 years). Although all patients had oral symptoms, 13 (19.7%) of the patients had extraoral symptoms and none experienced generalized urticaria or anaphylaxis. Excluding other Cucurbitaceae fruits, peach, fig, and kiwi most frequently elicited positive skin test results and symptoms. Up to 23% of melon-allergic patients had a concomitant latex sensitization. Melon allergy was especially linked to pollen allergy, since all the melon-allergic patients were also allergic to pollen. Some differential features with respect to the pollen allergy control group were a higher prevalence of asthma and a statistical increase in the frequency of sensitization to several tree and weed pollens, including Ulmus and Ambrosia. The authors conclude that the most important conditions linked to melon allergy are pollen allergy (100%), allergy to other nonrelated fruits, mainly peach (up to 62%), and latex sensitivity (up to 23%). Some differential features of the pollinosis in melon allergy were a higher prevalence of asthma and a higher frequency of sensitization to several weed and tree pollens. (Figueredo 2003 ref.8550 2)
Melon is a frequent allergy-elicting fruit in various parts of the USA. (Anderson 1870 ref.4268 4) It is the second most frequent allergy-eliciting fruit in Spain, (Cuesta-Herranz 2000 ref.5295 4) where it is the most important cause of food-allergy in adults. (Joral 1995 ref.1302 2)
An active substance, probably adenosine, was isolated from an aqueous melon extract and shown to inhibit human platelet aggregation induced by various substances, e.g., epinephrine, ADP, collagen, thrombin, sodium arachidonate, prostaglandin endoperoxide analogue, etc. (Altman 1985 ref.6893 4) The clinical relevance of this has not been determined yet.
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Allergy Advisor - Zing Solutions
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