Caroline Peyton

An unhealthy rainbow of Colours?

An unhealthy rainbow of colours

The ‘healthy’ rainbow of coloured fruits and vegetables practitioners frequently recommend to their clients could be the most unhealthy option they could choose. Virtually all members of the plant family contain salicylates; these include fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. It would be unfortunate for anyone to have such a sensitivity to salicylates that they needed to avoid all salicylate-containing foods, as there would be little left that would be ‘safe’ for them to eat. Aspirin is a well-known irritant and many people are unable to tolerate it and that may be because of its salicylic acid content. Originally aspirin was synthesised from the herb meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) – did you know the name ‘aspirin’ was derived from “spirin”, based on meadowsweet’s former scientific name, “Spiraea”?


Going back to our rainbow of colours, here’s a list of some of the most commonly recommended fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices that are all high in salicylates, so if someone does have a salicylate sensitivity, these are among the foods to avoid, whereas those with lower salicylate-properties may be fine in moderation:


Berries (blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, goji, gooseberry, raspberry, strawberry); black and redcurrants; apricot; grapes; kiwi fruit; melon; nectarines; pineapple.


Cucumber, courgette, pepper, sweet potato, tomato.


Chilli, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, oregano, turmeric.


Agnus castus, chamomile, elderflower, liquorice, meadowsweet, mint, rosehip, thyme.


Other foods such as: Aloe vera juice; almonds and Sweet Almond Oil; carob; chocolate and cocoa powder; peanuts; wine (red and white – different types of grape will have different levels of salicylates).


Mouthwash products may have high salicylate levels, and don’t overlook soaps, shampoos and cosmetic products.


Jackie Day – with acknowledgement to additional information by Christine Herbert, found in the journal ‘The Herbalist’.