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The Mango - Poison Ivy Connection

After experiencing a relentless and horrendous itchy/blistery/oozing rash over my lips and chin after eating an entire mango (skin and all) last Sunday, I feel it’s my duty to let you know what I wish I had known over a week ago!


Taken from the Discovery Channel website:

Mango and poison ivy are both in the cashew family, and both contain a substance called urushiol (yu-roosh’-ee-all). It’s the poison in poison ivy, the cause of the blisters and itching. The mango contains much, much less of the irritant than poison ivy, but despite that, some very sensitive people can get a rash just from handling mango peel and being exposed to its sap. Luckily, more often than not, even sensitive people can enjoy the delectable fruit of the mango, provided someone else peels it for them.


I’ve never reacted to mango before so I know it was the skin that did me in. So if you’re sensitive to poison ivy/poison oak/sumac be careful with those mango peels (or you’ll be suffering with the “merpes” like me):(


  • MeditatingMeditating Raw Newbie

    Mango is my favorite fruit but I cannt eat it raw unless I take a benadryl first. I can eat it if it has been processed witout any problem. Each time I eat one raw my eyes swell shut and I get itchy bumps around my mouth. Noe I know why. Thanks.

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    Ouch. That does not sound like fun. I had no idea mango (skin) could cause such a reaction. Thanks for this bit of information.

  • SueSue Raw Newbie

    wow, thanks for the info. I am severely allergic to poison ivy/oak. I’ve never eaten a fresh mango (luckily, because I would probably have a reaction) only frozen, so I guess I’ll keep doing the same.

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    I see you mentioned sumac. I have eaten that in my basmati rice before. Is that the same thing? Is sumac from oak?

  • OMG- the same thing happened to me about 5 years ago! I thought it was from residual pesticides on the mango skin. My lips and entire face became so swollen it looked and felt as if I got stung by many bees. Not Fun.
    Then my doctor put me on prednisone – which I don’t recommend.
    I’m sorry that it happened to you, but I appreciate you researching the cause and sharing it with everyone.
    Hope you are feeling better now. Cheers, gg13

  • NagevNagev Raw Newbie

    I heard that alot of backbackers get suckered into mango picking jobs while travelling. My friend told me that shes has seen people covered head to toe in rashes. KNowing this, I would probably do it just to be able to eat the fresh mangoS!


  • rachel_akikorachel_akiko Raw Newbie

    Wow, that really sucks! I’ve never gotten poison ivy before, even though I’ve touched it before, and ran through it a few times. I’m glad I don’t have any reaction to it.

  • Rachel – you are really lucky. But be careful. Allergies/allergic reactions can occur at any age.
    I grew up in the countryside by an apple orchard and when I was young my sisters and I used to run around playing outside practically all summer in bare-feet and I never got poison ivy. But when I was in my early 20’s I got it really bad. The rash and swelling on my left leg was so intense that my skin looked shiny—like a balloon. It was kind of surreal and I can laugh about it now, but man was it pretty awful then.
    I truly hope your luck holds out:)
    Cheers, gg13

  • bittbitt Raw Starter

    i just ate one and usually i lick out the skin. i realized my lips get slightly numb after even though i wash my face. probably a slight reaction. worth it though!

  • be careful an allergic reaction can intensify every time you have one (nuts use to bug my sis alittle then she had some dried fruit that had been ,mixed with nuts and her throat closed up and she almost died)

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