Thursday, September 24, 2015

An Aspirin a Day...

Aspirin has been linked to reduced instances of heart attacks for many years. Lately, there has been news of an Aspirin a day preventing colon cancer. Should we all be taking Aspirin as preventative medicine?

Too long/Don't wanna read?:  Eat your fruits and veggies and skip the recommendations for "an Aspirin a day." "Plant Aspirin" is in a form that does not have the risk factors associated with Bayer Aspirin (gastric bleeding, ulcers, Reyes disease).

From a 2006 research paper, "Aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke: what's the right dose?":

Despite hundreds of clinical trials, the appropriate dose of aspirin to prevent myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke is uncertain. In the US, the doses most frequently recommended are 80, 160, or 325 mg per day. Because aspirin can cause major bleeding, the appropriate dose is the lowest dose that is effective in preventing both MI and stroke because these two diseases frequently co-exist.

This paper concluded that the "proper dose" to prevent strokes and heart attacks is 160mg/day. A quick glance at Amazon shows Aspirin is available from low-dose (81mg) to extra-strength (325mg). The 81mg dose was once advertised as "Baby Aspirin," but this is no longer the case after several cases of Reyes Disease were linked to Baby Aspirin. I do not believe you will find Aspirin labeled for baby use in the US.

What is Aspirin?

A very recently updated Wikipedia article on Aspirin tells us:

Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is a salicylate medication, often used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation.[2] Aspirin also has an antiplatelet effect by stopping the binding of platelets together and preventing a patch over damaged walls of blood vessels. Aspirin is also used long-term, at low doses, to help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clot formation in people at high risk of developing blood clots.[3] Low doses of aspirin may be given immediately after a heart attack to reduce the risk of another heart attack or of the death of cardiac tissue.[4][5] Aspirin may be effective at preventing certain types of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer.[6][7][8]

The active ingredient in Aspirin is often said to be salicylic acid. Originally from the bark of the willow tree, it was synthesized by Bayer in 1897. Actually, the active ingredient is acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), a precursor to salicylic acid. And this is where it starts getting fuzzy.

Anti-cancer Effects

Salicylic acid (SA) is a plant hormone thought to protect the plant against bacterial and fungal invaders and to signal the immune system to repair damaged tissues. Both plants and animals have an interesting mechanism known as DNA Damage Response (DDR). When activated, proteins are expressed which activate the immune system. SA activates the DDR in both plants and animals. This is possibly the mechanism by which the recent anti-cancer benefits of Aspirin are seen.   

Long thought to be only a plant hormone, SA is now widely recognized as an animal hormone. Some researchers have made comments that SA, or Aspirin, should be called Vitamin S.

Big Pharma

Big Pharma hates Aspirin. It's one of the very few drugs that falls outside of the jurisdiction of the FDA. Aspirin is so old (you say: how old is it?), that it falls under grandfather rules. The FDA did not require Aspirin to go through lengthy drug trials for efficacy and safety since it seemed to have a proven track record of over 100 years of human use. If a drug company today had invented Aspirin, it is highly likely the FDA would not approve it due to its links to Reyes, gastric bleeding, and ulcers.

What Big Pharma really wants out of all this, is to develop new drugs that act similarly to Aspirin:

 "We've identified both synthetic and natural derivatives of salicylic acid which are 50 to 1000 times more potent than salicylic acid or aspirin in suppressing the pro-inflammatory activity of extracellular HMGB1," said Klessig, "thereby providing proof of concept that more effective salicylic acid-based drugs are attainable."

Vegetable Pharm!

Do we need an Aspirin a day?  NO!  What we need is FOOD.  Real food.

What Big Pharma really does not want you to know is that there are plenty of foods and spices that contain ample SA to provide the same protective effects as Aspirin or their proposed new drugs.

Salicylic acid was determined in all spices (up to 1.5 wt %) and cooked dishes. The salicylate content of blood and urine was shown to increase following consumption of the meal, indicating that this dietary source of salicylic acid was bioavailable. Salicylic acid levels in the serum from rural Indians were significantly (median almost 3-fold) higher than values previously measured in Western vegetarians. Chemoprotective aspirin is rapidly hydrolyzed to salicylic acid, and this phytochemical may contribute to the low cancer incidence in rural India.

Here is an article from 2005: "Aspirin for everyone over 50? Are we treating a nutritional deficiency?"

If as many as 80% of men and 50% of women over 50 will benefit from taking aspirin then perhaps a non-disease approach should be considered.1 Could the effects of aspirin be mimicking a nutrient missing in the modern/civilised diet? As reported in New Scientist, organically grown vegetable soups contain almost six times more salicylic acid than do non-organic vegetable soups.2 Morgan has suggested that salicylates are essential for good health and could be designated vitamin “S.”3

Many commonly used medicinal herbs contain substances that the body biotransforms to salicylic acid. For example, salicin is found in Salix spp, Populus spp, Viola spp, and Viburnum spp; fraxin is found in Fraxinus spp; and both spiraein and salicylaldehyde are found in Filipendula spp.4,5 These substances are biotransformed after passage through the stomach and so are not associated with the risks of gastrointestinal bleeding, as is aspirin.w1 w2 Salix extracts have several anti-inflammatory targets, including effects on both forms of cyclo-oxygenase.w2

Nutritional Deficiency of "Vitamin S"

Lots of early cultures made tea from the bark of the willow, which is what sparked the invention of Aspirin in the first place. The efficacy of Aspirin to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and cancer is proof that animals rely on plants for defenses they cannot produce themselves.  While a pill is often the easiest solution, there is another route.  Salicylic Acid, the "real stuff," not a sythetic pre-cursor that causes gastric bleeding, can be found in all sorts of food.

I cannot vouch for this list, so please just take this as a reminder to eat a variety of fruits, veggies, and spices daily. I've seen in other places that blueberries are a great source.


Salicylates in Foods (/ 100 gr)
Low (0.1 – 0.25 mg)
Moderate (0.25 – 0.49 mg)
High (0.5 – 1 mg)
Very high (>1 mg)


Green peas
Green beans
Asparagus fresh
Mushroom fresh
Asparagus canned
Chinese vegetables
Olives, black, can
Snow peans
Fava beans
Sweet potato
Green pepper


Pear, peeled
Apple, golden & red delicious
Cherries, sour
Grapes, green, can
Lemon fresh
Passion fruit
Grape fruit juice
Nectarine fresh
Apple Granny, Smith
Avocado fresh
Grapes red
Mandarin fresh
Tangelo fresh

Nuts and Seeds

Cashews Pecans
Peanut butter
Sesame seeds Hazelnuts
Sunflower seeds
Brazil nuts
Pine nuts
Macadamia nuts
Pistachio nuts


Soy sauce
Fennel Vegemite Canella
Curry powder
Dill dry
Garam masalla
Paprika hot

Another source gives this list of foods high in SA (Thanks, Jo tB!)

High amounts of salicylate

Fruit Avocado, most other varieties of apples, cantaloupe melon, cherries, grapefruit, mandarin, mulberry, nectarine peach, tangelo, watermelon.
Alfalfa sprouts, aubergine with peel, broad bean, broccoli, cucumber, tinned okra, parsnips, fresh spinach, sweet potato, tinned tomatoes and tomato puree, watercress.
Seeds and nuts
Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachio, sesame seeds.
Herbs, spices and condiments
Yeast extracts.
Oils and fats
Almond oil, corn oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil.

Very high amounts of salicylate

Fruit Fresh apricots, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, boysenberry, cranberry, fresh dates, grapes, guava, orange, pineapple, plum, strawberry, sultana.
Chicory, chilli peppers, courgette, endive, tinned green olives, peppers, radish, water chestnut.
Seeds and nuts
Almonds, peanuts with skins on.
Herbs, spices and condiments
Basil, bay leaf, caraway, chilli powder, nutmeg, vanilla essence, white pepper.
Oils and fats
Coconut oil, olive oil.
Peppermint tea.

Extremely high amounts of salicylate

Fruit Dried apricots and dates. Currant, loganberry, prunes, raisin, raspberry, red currant.
Herbs, spices and condiments
Allspice, aniseed, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne, celery powder, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, curry powder, dill, fenugreek, garam masala, ginger, liquorice, mace, mint, mustard, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage, tarragon, turmeric, thyme, wine and cider vinegars.
Cordials and fruit flavoured drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, tea.


People eating a SAD diet may benefit from a daily, small dose Aspirin. The research, however, is far from conclusive saying that the anti-cancer benefits and prevention of strokes may not be as great as hoped:

Risks and benefits of taking 75 mg aspirin for 5 years for 1000 healthy people aged 55–64 years (based on Rothwell1 and ATTC2):

In the first 5 years:
  • 1.5 additional significant extra-cranial bleeds
  • 0.5 additional intra-cranial bleeds
  • 3 fewer cardiovascular events (cardiac plus strokes)
  • No change in overall cardiovascular deaths

At 20 years, with the initial 5 years of taking aspirin:
  • 45 fewer deaths from cancer
  • No reduction in deaths from any cause (Reference)
Better, adopt a diet high in plants and fruits, focusing on those known to be high in salicylic acid, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, and olives. Use spices with a heavy hand.

What do you think?

Hattips to Angelo Coppola and Gemma for the discussions on Salicylic Acid and plant food!

Additional Reading:

Salicylic Acid Food List

SA Food List II

SA Study

SA Study II


  1. I apologize - I have mad a mess of this comment - what I want to say is -
    I OFTEN learn more from this site than from my CME sites - thanks so much for doing the legwork and posting this information!

    1. Newbie - Last year, I sat in on a CME (Continuing Medical Education) class on "cholesterol management". A young doctor asked about ordering advanced lipid panels. The head doc said, "No ordering anything more than the standard panels because the outcome will be the same...statins."

      These docs are pressured to prescribe meds based on a template. Population-wide, this might make some sense because most people eat like crap and are very unhealthy.

      Anyone who eats outside "SAD" is no longer a statistic. Did you know that something like 15% of all American adults are on PPIs?

  2. In the food list it notes fresh mushrooms to be low and then high and champignon is mushroom in French. Also garam masala is a mixture of cumin and other spices and dependent on the recipe one chooses to make from scratch. I would have thought it would have been better to list spices and not a mix.

    Okay, I know it is nitpicking. But just saying... ;)

    1. Not to mention the spelling mistakes, ahem. Nav, I hear you. If these pretty glaring errors make it through, it sorta casts a shadow on the whole chart for me.

    2. Yeah, that was the closest I could find to any kind of list. One thing that jumped out at me, and I have seen elsewhere, were the blueberries (and other dark berries). This all makes me think there are synergistic things going on with these plants. There is rarely magic in an extracted, isolated chemical.

      I have a feeling that many of Wildcucumber's "garbled" plants have a lot of salicylic acid in them, too (along with all the other goodies that can be coaxed out in a tincture).

    3. Tim - That's not something I've looked into but I'd think many of them do, yes.

      Thing about tinctures though Tim, is that they also leave behind some of the water solubles that would be protective (like the mucilage in violet leaves). So for some plants I'm starting to mess about with decocted tinctures, which have more water in them, and see if I can get a better balance. It's certainly been the case with eyebright, and if I can get more violet leaves before the snow flies I'll try that with them too.

    4. I agree that listing garam masala specifically was odd, but at a practical level, almost all spices are very high in salicylates. Eating low sals is pretty bland.

      This list looks like the one we used for a year or so when my son was sensitive to high salicylate foods. I don't think it's meant to distinguish between foods that are high vs higher sals so much as show gradations at the lower end. It was quite effective for us (til we found the long-term solution, which is somewhat relevant to this blog, very, very high doses of supplemental probiotics, a mix of a few strains of lactobacillus).


  3. Interesting thing about willow as opposed to aspirin itself, is that willow is considered healing and soothing to the stomach lining. Right there is a pretty good example of why isolating and synthesizing but one part of a plant isn't necessarily better than using the whole plant (or food or spice). But then ya'll knew I would say that, didn't you.

    1. If you click the link on the word "reference" in the last quote box, there is a very well-balanced article written for doctors on using aspirin for prevention. I loved this line:

      "Although we have discussed aspirin in relation to its action on the cardiovascular system, cancer, and GI tract separately, it is important to bear in mind that when taking aspirin, people expose themselves to all the risks and all the benefits simultaneously. It is difficult to directly compare the benefits of reductions in cancer and heart disease versus an increase in significant morbidity from bleeding and individual patients will have views on how they perceive the different outcomes."

      Yet, when taking SA in plant form, you get all the benefits of aspirin without the risks. How easy is that?

      Some day, a smart person will say: "Let food be thy medicine." Wouldn't that be a great slogan for the medical profession, lol.

  4. And go out in your backyard, unless you spray useless chemicals on your lawn etc., and eat 100 grams of violet leaves! From Henriette's Herbal Homepage "It contains 264 mg of vitamin C and 20,000 IU of vitamin A per 100 grams of fresh leaf, as well as salicylic acid.

    1. Ah, and violet leaf is another of those soothing-to-the-digestive-tract plants, too.

    2. navillus, plants do not contain vitamin A. They contain beta carotene which is variably converted to retinol in the body. Some people do a good job of it, some don't. The molecular ratios of beta-carotene > retinol vary. Probably genetic.

    3. Gab - and yet over and over we see 'reputable' sources stating the Vit A content of plants. It's frustrating but it's kind of semantics, too. Try to tell the general public there's no Vit A in carrots, when "everyone knows" they're a great source. I think we have to make allowances for this as a form of short hand.

      Besides, as absorption rates of any nutrient vary so wildly between one person and the next, these charts and tables are just about moot in the real world. Not to mention growing conditions of the plants or how they are prepared.

      So to anyone who wants to learn how to use food as medicine, it's far better to know that in the case of a dry scratchy throat that feels like there's a lump in there, dried violet leaf infusion will soothe it. The chemical constituents won't tell you that, traditional use does.

      The starting point has to be to look around at the foods and wild plants available under our noses, find out how they've been used in the past and just try them out!

    4. NB in case that's a little obscure: "dried violet leaf infusion" means the dried leaves of violets, infused as a tea.

    5. Cukey, this is why the actual incidence of low vitamin A status in the population is rather high. I know, it sounds hyperbolic but studies of university students discovered a majority are borderline scorbutic. And it's easier to get vitamin C than vitamin A. And a lot of people are low in vitamin D as well.

      Since there's genetic differences determining a body's ability to convert beta carotene into retinol, then given SAD..... Wonderbread is uberfortified but not with either vitamin A or beta carotene.

    6. Then people use margarine instead of butter ..

    7. WC, thanks for clarifying that we are talking about the common garden violet, to dry the leaves to infuse in tea. If that soothes my digestive tract all the better. I will definitely give that a try.

      Jo tB

    8. Jo - the longer you infuse, the better. Even overnight is acceptable with violet. Let us know if it helps?

  5. Tim and WC
    when i started with Psoriatic Arthritis symptoms pain, i researched what foods might help directly with pain, and by looking at some supplements i saw that ginger and turmeric are great, ginger im nto sure which part of it but turmeric its the SA and the curcumin, there are isolated curcumin supps to have although there effectiveness is disputed in isolated form, and some guy claimed that turmeric and curcumin really becomes bio available if mixed with oil, so i figured why not try both raw i have them both at home anyway, and it helped i added olive oil...
    but it made me think exactly what you say because i quickly came across the claim that turmeric and willow are the original aspirin yet i knew aspirin can cause bleeding although not often, but i never heard anyone getting ill from turmeric or ginger... proves your point...
    willow bark would be hard to eat though

    1. aj1441 - bioavailability is key, for sure, and that's why I like to look at traditional usage. When I see something like Curcurmin for "x", I look up food sources, then traditional recipes. So yes, turmeric and ginger are nearly always used together and onions are usually in there too. And often black pepper and always fat, (more often ghee or butter than oi). But they were cooked, too. And added to rice dishes (which may have been cooked and cooled for all we know). So add it all together and you see that traditional use - which is where they get there ideas that curcumin is good for "x" in the first place - is likely to offer the best bio-availability.

      I'm convinced these foods that are also medicines have to be looked at in context. Real world conditions, not labs. And each individual's capability to absorb and utilize them will vary too.

      You can definitely get into trouble taking spices without food, btw. Not everyone can handle ginger on an empty stomach.

      Willow bark is most often taken as a tea.

    2. When I was trying to get some Chokecherry tree branches to grow roots for planting, I found a trick. Chop up some new growth Willow branches and soak in water, then put the tree branches in this water, and they will start growing roots.

      The "active ingredients" in this process are salicylic acid (SA) and indolebutyric acid (IBA). These are plant hormones involved in protection and new growth.

      Funny thing, these same two plant hormones appear over and over in cancer research. Humans have an eerily close relationship with plants, bacteria, and fungus.

      These plant hormones are called "auxins." These plant hormones are found in animal cells, and seem to be very directly related to reasons we get or don't get cancer and some other diseases.

      It's deep, boring stuff, but highlights our need for plants of all types. ie.:

      "The plant hormones responsible for cell reprogramming to pluripotency, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and isopentenyl adenosine (IPA), are present in human cells, leading to the exciting possibility that plant hormones might reprogram mammalian cells without genetic factors."

  6. Hey Tim -

    This is something I posted elsewhere on your site:

    I think it's says a lot that supports this post. What I get from it is that there is a lot of variability in the amount of "Vitamin S" measured directly in food (and some concerns about the accuracy) and also about the variability of serum concentrations measured in individuals.

    My takeaway is that quality of vegetables matters, but perhaps in the unexpected way that damaged or less than perfect plants might be better because of the connection of S to defense. Also spices are good, and that might be (my conjecture) is that spices are not generally grown for looks.

    I personally have been trying to buy stuff that is less than perfect. I caught myself tossing back an jalapeño that was a beautiful fiery red but had a skin blemish. I picked that back up, and ate it this morning. It was great. The book "Eating on the Wildside" points out that many plants - I remember lettuce - can still activate defenses after being harvested, and there is benefit to slicing them in advance of eating. I don't remember if salicylic was mentioned in the book, but I would not be surprised if it did.

  7. Willows and violets, is that for girls or what?

    Salicylic Acid, a Plant Defense Hormone, Is Specifically Secreted by a Molluscan Herbivore (2014)

    "Slugs and snails are important herbivores in many ecosystems. They differ from other herbivores by their characteristic mucus trail. As the mucus is secreted at the interface between the plants and the herbivores, its chemical composition may play an essential role in plant responses to slug and snail attack. Based on our current knowledge about host-manipulation strategies employed by pathogens and insects, we hypothesized that mollusks may excrete phytohormone-like substances into their mucus. We therefore screened locomotion mucus from thirteen molluscan herbivores for the presence of the plant defense hormones jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA) and abscisic acid (ABA). We found that the locomotion mucus of one slug, Deroceras reticulatum, contained significant amounts of SA, a plant hormone that is known to induce resistance to pathogens and to suppress plant immunity against herbivores.

    The potent analgesic and antipyretic activities of plant tissue extracts, such as willow bark, in humans had been known for many centuries before the identification of SA, as the likely active compound [39]. SA is also used as medical tinctures against warts [40], [41]. Interestingly, rubbing the slime of slugs over warts has been used as anti-wart treatments as described in folklore books in the 19th century [42]. The concentration of SA that we found in the locomotion mucus of D. reticulatum is several orders of magnitude lower than that of in commercially available wart treatments. Other slug secretions, such as the thick mucus secreted by slugs as defense during attack, may contain higher concentrations of SA, which may justify its use as wart cures. These secretions are currently being investigated."

  8. That's a mangiacake list. What about instead of green pepper it's red shepherd peppers or chili peppers? Green pepper is gross. And what about oyster mushrooms? Only those button 'shrooms have salicylic acid?

    1. Agreed. I just added a couple links at the bottom of the blog, one is to a Livestrong article on foods high in SA.

      All of the lists show that some of the most tasty fruits, veggies, and spices are good sources, so this won't be as hard as trying to get fiber in the diet.

      Go Blueberries!

      (could SA be some of the magic behind the "smoothie deal?")

  9. Question... I read in the additional reading where it mentioned sauerkraut as being an example of vitamin S. Cabbage is negligible on the list. So, the vitamin is produced because of the bruising you do to get the juice to help with the ferment? I am already eating homemade kraut every day. Been a little hobby of mine to make a different kraut recipe every few weeks and have it ferment a month before it goes in the fridge for eating. Where do you think it would be placed on the chart---very high with the blueberries and mushrooms, perhaps higher because of the bruising?

    I am excited about now having permission to eat the berries from my garden I find with slug slime on them...double dose. :)

    1. Allison - I missed that, but it does indeed say sauerkraut is a good source of salicylic acid. I just googled around and could not find anything to corroborate that fact, but it makes sense.

      SA is formed by a plant in response to stress, often in the leaves. I just made a batch of sauerkraut today. I chopped, salted, and punched the hell out of three heads of cabbage, if that wasn't stressful to them, I don't know what is, lol.

      We have been saying forever around here, to get the most "vegetable pharm" out of garlic, you crush, salt, and rest it. The allicin in garlic is a similar substance to SA in that it forms to protect the garlic. It is not found in an unstressed bulb of garlic.

      My blueberries have bear slobber on them...does that count?

      Good catch! Thanks.

    2. All the reading I do around here and I've missed adding salt to crushed garlic! I will do it from now on.
      I wonder what other stressors we could perform to increase polyphenols etc.

    3. Tim, nah, the bears left you some blueberries?

    4. How long are we resting the garlic? To be eaten raw or cooked? Eager to soak up more of the little pearls from Vegetablepharm-ers!

    5. If I remember right, the "perfect" time is 10 minutes. Just crush with your hand or a proper garlic crusher and wait 10 minutes while the allicin constructs itself. I'm not sure where the salt idea came from.

      Also, buying crushed garlic and garlic supplements may not be the same thing. The allicin may only stay active for a day or two.

      read more:

    6. According to Jo Robinson's book it IS ten minutes and the salt is not needed. What happens is that allicin is created when two isolated substances come into contact with each other: a protein fragment called alliin and a heat sensitive enzyme called alliinase. Once th clove is pressed chewwed or chopped they come together and form allicin. After ten minutes the maximum amount of allicin is created so then you can cook with it and heating and destroying the allinase doesn't matter. If you are going to make something like a pesto or salsa that will not be heated, then you do not need to wait

    7. Thanks Tim and elliebelly! My garlic habits shall now be forever changed...until the next great garlic discovery comes along, that is.

  10. I was reading other things online looking for vitamin S and this was interesting.

    Table 1 includes data for nine coffees and five coffee
    substitutes. All but one contain less than 0.96 mg salicylate
    per 100 ml. The higher value of 2.26 mg for one cereal
    coffee may reflect the raw materials, such as chicory, used
    in its manufacture.

    I have never nor will be a coffee drinker, however, I love dandyblend maybe that is also a source of Vitamin S?

  11. If you are looking for a good list of Salicylate in foods, I recently found this UK site.

    I found it because some people with Histamine Intolerance could also have salicylate intolerance.

    Jo tB

    1. Thanks, Jo! I just added the "high" lists to the main post. So sad that all the foods around here we profess are great for you, so many cannot tolerate.

    2. Ironic eh Tim? Nightshades are high in salicylates and people have problems with nightshades. May not be the salicylates because this stuff appears to be pretty well ubituitous in an awful lot of fruit and vegetables.

    3. I was reading along....looking at all the high S foods and then I read a vegetable that I had never heard of before. GHERKIN . Trusty wikipedia says it is a lacto-fermented cucumber. guess is that kraut would have to be in the same realm as the GHERKIN.

      Tonight I am going to ferment some garlic. Maybe someone knows if it would still be good if I crushed it a little and then put it in the brine or if I should just brine it like all the recipes describe.

    4. Wouldn't the allicin formed from crushing the garlic kill the bacteria needed to ferment the garlic?

    5. Or possibly it kills the bacteria and yeast that would interfere with fermentation. But that is a great question! It very well may do exactly as you say.

    6. I've fermented lots of garlic, both by itself and in other stuff.

      It ferments just fine. My understanding is that garlic is selective about what it kills. And the good bacteria that we like actually develop a tolerance to it.

      As far as crushing it, without considering the allicin issue because I don't know, I prefer to keep my garlic whole when fermenting it by itself and crushing it when using it to help flavor something else, like pickles or okra. It seems that more of the flavor leaks out into the brine, thus better flavoring the other stuff.

      By itself, you don't want the flavor in the brine unless you plan to drink it.

      On the allicin issue, I don't see that fermenting does anything bad to the enzymes and proteins. But maybe. You could also crush the garlic after it is fermented. That would be awesome on a hotdog!

  12. On the internet I found the following report from the University of Sydney, and they list 333 foods and their salicylate content.

    Jo tB

  13. Another nice reading on salicylic acid:

    Plant defense hormones help sculpt root microbiome (2015)

    "According to new research, the defense hormone salicylic acid helps select which bacteria live both inside and on the surface of a plant's roots, keeping some bacteria out and actively recruiting others. "

  14. Noticing raisins on the list of extremely high SA. Perhaps that accounts for the purported pain relief from gin soaked raisins.

  15. I am reading book by German young lady Giulia Enders after watching a presentation she gave in German. Lots of humor. Why is a young lady interested in our gut?
    I couldn’t find an English presentation of hers on you tube. However, I found the following:

    On one of the first pages in her book, she mentions Rob Knight and an article of his in Nature.

    And quite by coincidence, now I came across a Ted Talk by Rob Knight on FTA.

    New kids on the block. We will surely be hearing more from them in the near future.

    Jo tB

  16. Honey is also high in salicylates, based on this paper (more in honeydew honey).

    "The solid-phase microextraction (SPME) followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used for the analysis of phenolic and other aromatic compounds in honey samples from different floral origin.

    A total of 31 compounds were detected, with most of them identified and quantified by GC-MS. The principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to the data matrix; the results allowed for the differentiation between honeydew and nectar honeys on the basis of the salicylic acid concentration. It was found that this acid has a high contribution in the honeydew group (71.2-705.9 microg/100 g of honey) compared to the nectar honey group (0-47.6 microg/100 g of honey)."

    1. But Gemma, honeydew honey is a rather esoteric thing. If you can find it.

    2. This is great, Gemma. Thanks. Another reason for me to enjoy my honey.

      It's still hard to get used to eating real honey after years of avoiding it for the 'evil fructose.' From what I hear (and saw), most bees will collect honeydew in the fall after the main plant nectar flow is over. Probably most beekeepers that sell raw honey direct to customers will be happy to call you when they have honeydew honey.

      It seems to be much darker and richer. Everything I've read indicates it is quite a bit more nutritionally rich than main season honey. The SA content is icing on the cake...esoteric or not, lol. Worth looking for if you don't have bees. If nothing else, you will make a beekeepers day asking for it.

    3. Why should honeydew honey be esoteric and hard to find? You just have to search and ask. It may be a question of marketing. Not everyone would be happy to consume honey made from "aphid secretion", it may not even be on the label. Probably it is called forest, or tree honey.

      Technically, the bees can also directly collect the plant saps (other than floral nectar) and process it by themselves into honeydew.

    4. Looking again at the paper I linked above, analysing phenolic and other aromatic compounds of honey (salicylic acid is a simple phenolic). Wow, what a list, so many compounds, some even marked as "unknown".

      The highest in salicylic acid was a forest honey from the Pyrenees (705.9 μg/100 g of honey), from the samples tested.

      Each honey is different... and all contain benzoic acid as well. So in this respect here another paper for thought:

      Salicylic Acid sans Aspirin in Animals and Man: Persistence in Fasting and Biosynthesis from Benzoic Acid (2008)

      "Salicylic acid (SA), which is central to defense mechanisms in plants and the principal metabolite of aspirin, occurs naturally in man with higher levels of SA and its urinary metabolite salicyluric acid (SU) in vegetarians overlapping with levels in patients on low-dose aspirin regimens. SA is widely distributed in animal blood. Fasting for major colorectal surgery did not cause disappearance of SA from plasma, even in patients following total proctocolectomy. A 13C6 benzoic acid load ingested by six volunteers led, between 8 and 16 h, to a median 33.9% labeling of urinary salicyluric acid. The overall contribution of benzoic acid (and its salts) to the turnover of circulating SA thus requires further assessment. However, that SA appears to be, at least partially, an endogenous compound should lead to reassessment of its role in human (and animal) pathophysiology.
      SA is widely found in the animal kingdom. We have adduced evidence for its biosynthesis from benzoic acid in man. These observations are, we suggest, appropriately assessed in light of the many effects of aspirin, its pro-drug. It is, we suspect, increasingly likely that SA is a biopharmaceutical with a central, broadly defensive, role in animals as in plants. This simple organic chemical is, we propose, likely to become increasingly recognized as an animal bioregulator, perhaps in a class of its own. Intriguingly, as a phytohormone it may have differential, concentration-dependent, effects on programmed cell death and surrounding tissue protection (29). Some of the tissue effects of SA already described (5, 6, 25−28) raise the probability of just such a hybrid function, perhaps at a critical point in apoptosis and/or inflammation, in animals as in plants.

      If we are right that SA is not just an important phytochemical but also a key biopharmaceutical, its circulating level might well be subject to homeostatic control and not be solely influenced by dietary SA with or without benzoic acid intake."

    5. Peppermint tea = very high makes sense! A cup of peppermint tea is an excellent remedy for headaches and other aches and pains and interestingly, gas pains too. It's not just the SA but how it works in combo with the other goodies of course.

    6. Forest honey is delicious and available. Prices vary but oddly my local German deli has very good prices of both the Breitsamer and the Langnese.. I've read that chefs consider them the most desirable. Walmart ( and Amazon carry them too for varying prices. YUM.

    7. I never knew before that 'forest honey' is made from something other than straight on flower nectar. They sell it here too but I've never bought it.

  17. I can't believe you've brought this up. What a great subject. I have been speaking out to anyone who will listen the evils of taking aspirin daily as some doctors recommend. It killed my cousin at 58 years old last month. I'm still mourning and still in shock.

    He was a wonderful, happy, successful man with a wife and two grown kids. He ate the SAD of course, and went to doctors and did whatever they said without question. I loved him so much but wasn't close enough to him to discuss the details of his health and care. He had high blood pressure and maybe something else concerning his doctor, so doc had him on a new blood pressure med and a diuretic. He also had him taking "baby" (low dose) aspirin every day. These medicines combined to do him in but the aspirin delivered the coup de grace.

    He was on vacation with his wife. Night number three, he got up in the night no doubt to pee, probably from the diuretic, this effect he had been complaining about. He must have passed out, probably from the new blood pressure med he had not gotten used to yet. His wife heard a thud and he had fallen straight backward and hit the back of his head on the floor. He was knocked out for 15 minutes, and revived when the paramedics arrived. He said he was fine, but they rushed him to the hospital where tests showed a massive brain bleed. He survived a few days. It was inoperable but they did in the end go in three times. They told his wife they couldn't stop the bleeding due to the aspirin, and apparently they did attempt some sort of "antidote" to the aspirin which failed.

    My thinking is that anyone anywhere can get a blow to the head. A child swinging a toy, a fixture falling, a fall, any kind of accident. Daily aspirin makes you "a bleeder," which is what happened to my cousin, and he died because no one could stop the bleeding in his brain.

    I wish I had known his situation and known these harmless food based ways to achieve what his doctor was trying to do. In my opinion the doctor killed a healthy, vibrant man for no good reason.

    1. Wow.

      My wife developed two ulcers after a couple months on baby aspirin...thank you Dr. Oz!

    2. Yaelle, so sorry to hear about your cousin's untimely death. That shouldn't have happened. I agree with you wholeheartedly that we should fight against the wholesale use of aspirin. It's not really the doctor's fault. He/she is only following guidelines set by the health authorities (the big wigs) and the researches who came up with the idea in the first place. The same goes for statins.

      Jo tB

    3. Yaelle, what a sad story, I'm so sorry to hear that.

    4. On the topic of blood thinners, anyone taking supplements should be aware that some carry the same danger as aspirin, ie excessive bleeding.

      I don't want to sound alarmist here but good old red clover, for example, especially the leaves, which are often included in capsules or tea bags, contain coumarin, a blood thinner. This isn't normally much of an issue, but if the herbs have been sitting in storage the amounts rise over time. (Ironically, it's marketed to menopausal women and a blood thinner is the last thing women need during that carnival ride).

      Turmeric - although safe used as a spice - can be tricky when taken in higher amounts as a supplement. It's so called 'active ingredient', curcumin, has blood thinning properties.

      No doubt there are more and while not harmful most of the time, it's something to keep in mind, especially for anyone taking multiple supplements.

    5. Thanks. It's important one knows what they are taking, for sure.

    6. The herb andrographis that is part of my Lyme treatment apparently does the same thing. I believe cod liver oil does too and vitamin E

    7. Yaelle, that is so sad to hear. Recently my husband and i were at some gathering when someone smugly announced they were taking baby aspirin and suggested that we should too. My husband later told me he could observe my struggle to avoid a rant , i did control myself, but if I had heard your story I would have let loose, I am sure. People ned to know.

    8. A sad story. He may have been "vibrant" but you are contracting your own description of him with the use of the word "healthy." Aspirin isn't for everyone and some people should avoid it. Others experience no bleeding at all, while others stop the effects of bleeding by taking K2 with the aspirin. Still others take aspirin crystals or dissolve the tablet in water before taking to avoid gut issues. The issue isn't as simple or clear cut as you suggest.

  18. I would like to add a note of caution. Salicylates might require that you do some gut rebuilding first. My children and I were acutely sensitive to fruits with salicylates and while we were very ill with CFS it was contraindicated giving ADHD type symptoms, or in our language, leaving them really "screwed up". In practical terms their gut knotted up and they became so irritable their behaviour became impossible to manage and time out to recover alone was the only option.

    So if you are sensitive to salicylates, or they make you acutely uncomfortable then do the RS/PS thing plus you might find l-glutamate helps heal the gut. Paleo, without any grains or legumes might be needed for three months of the early healing period. Well we found that worked anyway. If sensitive try pears (usually very safe) then really red apples and if they are OK then go progressively greener. When that was Ok then we found most salicylate foods were OK.

    Back before we realised the importance of gut health it used to be recommended that people with CFS/FM/ME (and yes I do know the differences between them) avoid any medium-high salicylate foods but now I would suggest you work on improving your gut and stay away from SAD foods rather than cutting out basic foods for the long term. By memory I think it took about 6 weeks of very careful eating to manage salicylate foods again.


  19. Noticed Vegemite under condiments. I have grown very fond of this product. Love it spread on toast with provolone cheese. When I read the label it says 'Contains B vitamins' does anybody know if this just enriched with synthetic B's or if is a natural product made by the yeast in the condiment?


  20. On the other hand ...