Salicylates are the salts and esters of salicylic acid. Naturally occurring in varying concentrations in many fruits and vegetables, salicylates are stored in the bark, leaves, roots, and seeds of plants, and act as a natural immune hormone and preservative, preventing rotting and protecting the plant against harmful insects, bacteria, and fungi.  Salicylates are chemically very similar to the man-made chemical, acetylsalicylic acid, a key ingredient in aspirin and other pain medications.  They are also frequently found in cosmetics and personal care products.

Common products containing salicylates include:  acne and wart removal products, aspirin, many other NSAIDs, and other medications, both natural and pharmaceutical herbal products, cosmetics, fragrances, perfumes, lotions, hair sprays, gels, shampoos and conditioners, bubble baths, cleaning products, air fresheners, gums and breath savers, and lozenges.

You may recognize this element since it is the common component of aspirin.  It is considered to be a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID.  For some people it works well for headaches, inflammation and blood thinning.  For some it has little or no effect.  And still others, it can have devastating side effects. Strangely enough, salicylates are also found in many foods.  That’s both good and bad.  Many foods with salicylates are considered to be wholesome, nutritional and are anti-inflammatory for this reason of having salicylates in them.  However, some people have mild to serious reactions to these types of food because of the salicylates.  The reactions would be:  Asthma-like symptoms such as trouble breathing and wheezing, headaches, nasal congestion, changes in skin color, itchingskin rash, or hives, swelling of the hands, feet, and face, stomach pain and other GI tract issues, diabetes and insulin resistance.

Salicylates are found in:  blackberries, blueberries, dates, raisins, cantaloupe, apricots, avocados, granny smith apples, tangelos, mandarin oranges and grapes.  All of these foods contain high levels of salicylic acid.   Also, honey/blueberry/black currant jam, cucumbers, steamed greens, and various herbs and spices.  Curry, chili, paprika, black pepper, and turmeric.  This list of foods is not complete but more can be found with a little research on the internet.  Of course, these foods are the items that we are encouraged to eat normally because of their high levels of the various components of nutrition and anti-oxidant properties.  Unfortunately, there are some people that are not going to do well with these foods.  Doesn’t leave much does it? 

What choices are there?  Other than elimination of these foods and items that can cause a person anaphylactic issues and allergies, there is the possibility of one item to be taken where the food can’t be avoided.  ENZYMES.  A broad spectrum enzyme taken orally is catabolic to break-down all items for proper absorption and elimination of the excesses.  Enzymes have been known to be a curative for many people that can’t follow their necessary respective diet procedures.  Granted, eliminating all foods that contain salicylates is extremely limiting.  Perhaps even eliminating the worst ones and taking enzymes with the more mild salicylic involved foods could be an answer.

Unfortunately, it is not really known why the reactions to salicylates occur with some people and not others.  Genetics have a lot of answers that we have not explored yet.  In the meantime, we need to be cautious to make ourselves aware of the possibilities that may cause potential health issues.