Middle Eastern & Indian spices lower histamine (and other biogenic amines) in foods!

Middle Eastern & Indian spices lower histamine & other biogenic amines in foods (better than chemicals!)
Middle Eastern & Indian spices lower histamine in foods!

More reasons to go natural – here’s a study showing that the addition of Middle Eastern spice sumac to Turkish sausage lowers the biogenic amines tyramine and putrsecine in foods more effectively than BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene).

The effect of sumac extract and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) addition on the quality (pH, colour, biogenic amine, TBARS values and sensory attributes) of sucuk (Turkish dry-fermented sausage) were investigated during the ripening period. Addition of BHT decreased the TBARS value by about 23.7%, whereas sumac extract decreased it by 42.0%. Sumac extract decreased (P < 0.05) putrescine formation more than BHT addition. However, no significant difference (P > 0.05) was observed in histamine formation for both the sumac extract and BHT-added recipe. The highest tyramine concentration was observed in a control recipe (R1) prepared without any antioxidants, and the lowest was in the sumac extract-added recipe (R3) with mean values of about 96.62 and 63.17 mg kg−1, respectively. This study demonstrated that sumac extract had more effect on the quality of sucuk during the ripening period, hence it could be easily utilised in sucuk to enhance quality. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry – Read the full study here.

Unfortunately Sumac did not show the same effect on histamine.

For that we have to travel half way across the world to Sri Lanka and India where people have been using Garcinia Cambogia (mangosteen family) leaves to prevent histamine contamination in fish for centuries. Whether or not they actually knew that’s why they were doing it is another story.

Histamine consumed with food gives rise to allergic reactions. Dark muscle fish, for example skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) has been shown to contain histamine. Addition of the spice Garcinia cambogia (extracts 0.2 g ml-1) known as ‘goraka’ in Sri Lanka (sinhala) and ‘kukum’ in India (hindhi), to fresh skipjack incubates prevents histamine formation as a result of lowering pH to 3.2-3.6.Read the full study here.

This naturally makes me wonder if Garcinia Cambogia has the same effect in the human body, at least for those of us with histamine related disorders (histaminosis/histamine intolerance/mastocytosis). Anecdotal evidence put forward by natural supplement pushers would have us believe it does. Garcinia is currently touted as a cure all for allergies, food intolerances, and hay fever. I’ll wait for the solid research to back it. Or at least till the box of garcinia tea I ordered arrives. Your intrepid reporter will keep you posted on her results.

In the meantime, I’d love to know why we in the west haven’t adopted this natural herb for the prevention of unacceptable histamine levels in fish. After all, it’s not just those of us with histamine intolerance, histaminosis, mastocytosis and mast cell activation disorders who are adversely affected by high histamine levels in foods. Government bodies now freely admit histamine in foods is a growing concern to “healthy” people, not just those of us with histamine disorders.


Check out these other Healing Histamine blog posts


Yasmina was an award-winning broadcast journalist with a decade of experience covering war zones for CNN and the BBC. She devoted her journalism skills to researching and writing about histamine. Click here to learn about her. Each post is carefully and fully referenced with the latest scientific research. Not sure where to start? Here’s a four week meal plan and overall Histamine Reset.

4 Week Histamine Reset

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