Salicylates are naturally inherent in plants, so these chemicals are found in many fruits, vegetables and herbs. A plant’s salicylates protect it against diseases, insects, fungi and harmful bacteria.
If ingested in a very high amount, salicylates are toxic. But most can eat an average amount of foods containing this toxin without experiencing any adverse health affects.
Some have a salicylate sensitivity caused by the consumption of a relatively small amount, like any other food intolerance. To further complicate this food sensitivity situation, some react to only certain salicylate containing foods and not others. Or even react to the same food differently based on whether it’s raw or cooked.
Salicylates can build up in your body and once your particular tolerance is reached, salicylate sensitivity may cause you notice by a few of these symptoms:
- nasal polyps
- mouth ulcers
- chronic cough
- stomach upset
- abdominal pain
- trouble breathing
- nasal congestion
- rash around mouth
- eyelid, lip, face swelling
- frequent, urgent urination
- itchy, burning, watery eyes
Your toxic reaction could be a salicylate food allergy instead, which causes almost the same symptoms with the added component of immune system involvement.
For some, an allergic reaction to salicylate usually takes very little of it in food and can lead to anaphylaxis, potentially causing severe hypotension, unconsciousness and organ failure. So if you have a salicylate allergy you may need to stop eating the foods that contain this allergen.
The major problem with salicylate avoidance is it is encountered in most food, so it will probably be impossible to cut it out of your diet completely. Some foods that are low in it are all fresh meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, cereals and bread.
Salicylate is also created synthetically and is an ingredient in aspirin, other pain relievers, muscle relaxants, analgesic creams, antacids, preservatives, sunscreens, perfumes and other beauty products.
Salicylic acid can be used to treat certain skin problems, like:
- corns, calluses
- warts, plantar warts
- seborrheic dermatitis