Natural aspirin (salicylic acid) in Plants: Safer Than Pills
Buffered Aspirin and Aluminum
It started when Michigan researchers published their discovery of the cancer fighting properties of aspirin (1).
News spread quickly and soon bottles and bottles of pills were being snatched up by the hands of eager consumers.
About the same time a Vermont-based study was underway, looking for answers to the causes of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other degenerative diseases (1). Through these experiments an answer was found: aluminum, in higher than normal amounts.
So what exactly is the connection?
Aluminum is a main ingredient in the commercially available buffered form of aspirin. While researchers were revealing its tumor preventing and carcinogen neutralizing abilities, aspirin may also have been secretly destroying the central nervous systems of millions of Americans (1).
What about unbuffered aspirin?
Lest individuals think unbuffered pills are any safer, though they may not have as high an aluminum content, their routine administration still results in several health compromising conditions (detailed bellow).
Aspirin Pill Risks vs Benefits
2-3 daily aspirin prevent tumor formation and neutralize the cancer-causing effects of nicotine, according to a Michigan based study (1)
Taking baby aspirin reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes in diabetics(4)
Aspirin reduces lung, rectal, and colon cancer (12)
2+ aspirin a week increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 58% and 14+ aspirin a week increase the risk by 86% according to a Massachusetts study (3)
Baby aspirin increases the need for vitamin C (5)
Asprin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and contributes to stomach ulcers. Improper use of these drugs is linked to 100,000 hospital visits and 16,000 deaths in the US annually (7)
Aspirin use is associated with macular degeneration; an Australian study found macular complications in 2.2% of non-aspirin users, 2.9% of occasional users, and 5.8% of routine users (17)
Want the benefits of aspirin WITHOUT these risks?
There is a natural aspirin-containing alternative, several alternatives, in fact, which are safe for daily use and have no link to cancers, vitamin deficiencies, ulcers, or degenerative diseases.
One is the raspberry.
A 3/4 cup of red raspberries has approximately 5 grams of salicylic acid (20).
The typical daily dose of pills considered safe for adults treating inflammatory conditions, fever, or pain is between 3 and 4 grams (with the exception of rheumatic fever, which allows sufferers more) (21).
Raspberries and Aspirin
Raspberries have salicylic acid, the natural and organic form of aspirin (1).
Being completely natural raspberries are free of harmful side-effects.
Whereas aspirin can damage the intestinal membrane, cause bleeding of the stomach, and elevate the bodys aluminum levels, raspberries do none of these things. Not to mention, raspberries contain anthocyanin, ellagic acid, and carotenoids which have anticarcinogenic properties as well (2).
NOT A FAN OF RASPBERRIES?
The following foods also have asprin-like benefits and none of the health complications attributed to pills:
Wasabi and horseradish inhibit colon, stomach, and lung cancer cells in humans (8)
Gingerol, a chemical in ginger, thins the blood without any of the side effects of aspirin. Further, ginger has been proven to reduce tumor growths in the colons of lab animals (3)
In addition to berries, apples, cantaloupe, raisins, apricots, dates, grapes, peaches, plums, oranges, cucumbers, peppers, pineapple, and tomatoes also contain natural aspirin (13, 16)
Kiwi is a natural alternative blood thinner (14), as is garlic (15).
An Herbal Alternative: Willow Bark, the original source
Willow bark was used in ancient times for pain and fever relief by Hippocrates, a famous Greek physician. The active component in the bark, salicin, was isolated by Johann Buchner in 1828 and converted to salicylic acid, a colorless crystal, by Raffaele Piria in 1838.
Because of its bitter flavor and gastric damaging potency while in this form, Charles Frederic Gerhardt buffered the acid with sodium salicylate and acetyl chloride in 1853. Even though it could then be easily consumed, Gerhardt made no move to profit from his creation.
Instead, Felix Hoffmann came upon Gerhardt’s formulation several years later and brought it to the attention of the German company Bayer, which patented it in February of 1900 and sold it as tablets by 1915. However, after World War I the Treaty of Versailles demanded Bayer give up its aspirin trademark.
Willow bark is still used to treat pain and inflammation around the world, and although its effects take longer to kick in than aspirin, they are believed to last for a longer period of time and be achieved at a considerably lower dose. Other substances in the bark have the additional benefits of containing antioxidant, fever lowering, and immune strengthening components, as well as antiseptic properties.
Different willow species contain different amounts of salicin and the bark sold therapeutically in the US and Europe is often from white, or European, willows, purple willows, and crack willows. Those suffering from back and arthritis pain, flu symptoms, tendinitis, menstrual cramps, or bursitis claim to find relief after consuming willow capsules, dried teas, or tinctures.
Though most individuals do not have strong reactions to willow bark, as an herb it can cause undesirable side effects in some individuals and when over-consumed. While it is a natural alternative to laboratory-synthesized products, fruits and vegetables remain a superior choice for those seeking aspirin-type benefits.
Sources: numbered (18) and (19) below.
1. Mikhail Tombak, Cure the Incurable
2. Laurie Deutsch Mozian, MS, RD Foods That Fight Disease: A Simple Guide to Using and Understanding Phytonutrients to Protect and Enhance Your Health
3. Andreas Moritz, Cancer Is Not A Disease - It's A Survival Mechanism
4. Michael T. Murray, Beat Diabetes Naturally: The Best Foods, Herbs, Supplements, and Lifestyle Strategies to Optimize Your Diabetes Care
5. James Scala, The New Eating Right for a Bad Gut: The Complete Nutritional Guide to Ileitis, Colitis, Crohn's Disease, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
7. Brenda Watson and Leonard Smith, The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps
8. David W. Grotto, RD, LDN, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life!
10. Dr. Abram Hoffer, MD, FRCP (C) and Dr. Harold D. Foster, PhD, Feel Better, Live Longer with Vitamin B-3
12.Dan Labriola, Complementary Cancer Therapies: Combining Traditional and Alternative Approaches for the Best Possible Outcome
13. J. Robert Hatherill, Eat To Beat Cancer: A Research Scientist Explains How You and Your Family Can Avoid Up to 90% of All Cancers
14. Adam Leith Gollne, The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession
15. Erica Wickham, M.S, R.D., List of Blood-Thinning Foods accessed at http://www.livestrong.com/article/323888-list-of-blood-thinning-foods/ 16. Get the Benefits of Aspirin in the Foods you Eat by FCA Publishing accessed at http://www.fca.com/articles/2Q72.html 17. Aspirin Use Linked to Macular Degeneration by Nancy Walsh accessed at http://www.medpagetoday.com/Ophthalmology/GeneralOphthalmology/36943 18. History of Aspirin by Mary Bellis accessed at http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blaspirin.htm 19. Univeristy of Maryland Medical Center accessed at http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/willow-bark 20. Berry Health Benefits Network accessed at http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/ 21. Drugs.com accessed at http://www.drugs.com/dosage/aspirin.html