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Salicylic acid sources, health benefits and uses

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 by

Ortho-hydroxybenzoic acid or vitamin S, or more commonly known as salicylic acid, is a white crystalline solid that is mainly used in making aspirin and other pharmaceutical products. It naturally occurs in small amounts and can be found in many plants, especially the various species of Spiraea. It can also be found in plants like wintergreen leaves and white willow back.

It was first prepared in 1838 by Raffaele Piria, an Italian chemist, from salicylaldehyde. In 1860, the German chemists Hermann Kolbe and Eduard Lautemann discovered a synthesis based on phenol and carbon dioxide.

Today, the compound is made from dry sodium phenoxide (sodium phenolate) and carbon dioxide, followed by treatment with acid.

Salicylic acid can be found in fruits such as black berries, blueberries, dates, raisins, cantaloupe, apricots, avocado, apples, tangelos, oranges, and grapes, all of which contain high levels of salicylic acid. It can also be found in vegetables like green peppers, broccoli and spinach, nuts like almonds, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, and peanuts, and herb and spices like turmeric, cumin, curry powder, and curcumin.

Medicinal uses for salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a common ingredient used in products such as acne treatment and skin exfoliation. It is an anti-inflammatory and works by unclogging blocked pores and shedding dead cells to give way for cellular growth.

This acid reduces the swelling and redness of the pimples and helps in healing the pimples quickly and gently. It also has anti-microbial properties that can destroy germs and fungi. It helps reduce the chances of breakouts by curbing the infection and wiping them out totally by killing pimple-causing germs. It likewise increases blood circulation to heal pimples and prevent them from resurfacing.

It is known to have a keratolytic effect which clears the dead skin cells of the epidermal layers of the skin to promote new cell growth. In addition, it raises the absorption and penetration power of the skin.

It is also used as an ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos because of its bacteria-fighting ability. It can also be used to treat psoriasis.

Body systems supported by salicylic acid

Salicylic acid can help relieve pain. It has been suggested that people can take plant extracts rich in this acid as a good natural alternative for aspirin.

Like aspirin, it benefits for blood thinning. People with cardiovascular problems can use vitamin S to thin blood. This prevents internal build up of blood clots and blockage of arteries that lead to strokes and heart attacks. It encourages health blood flow.

This acid also reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Skin warts can also be treated with production with salicylic acid. It dissolves keratin that forms the innermost part of the wart and the thick dead skin on top. It also reduces the pain caused by corns as it softens the skin and is gentle on the skin.

Where to learn more


Salicylic acid or vitamin S can help prevent cancer, blood clot, and psoriasis. It can also help support skin, hair, and heart health.

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