Salicylic acid content of spices and its implications

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Apr 19;54(8):2891-6. doi: 10.1021/jf058158w.


This work was done to determine the salicylate content of a variety of commonly used spices and to assess whether this potential dietary source of salicylate was bioavailable. Spices, Indian cooked dishes, and blood and urine samples taken after ingestion of a test meal were investigated for their salicylate content using high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. The serum salicylic acid concentrations in samples from villagers in southern India were also measured and have been compared with typical European values. 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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Rural Population
  • Salicylic Acid / analysis*
  • Salicylic Acid / pharmacokinetics*
  • Spices / analysis*


  • Salicylic Acid