SAF Nutrients: Salicin

SAF Nutrients Salicin

Salicin is a SAF nutrient which possess potent anti- inflammatory, anti- microbial, antioxidant and anti-neoplastic properties. It belongs to a group of SAF nutrients that have shown to activate AMPK and mimic the effects of calorie restriction and exercise. It occurs in the bark and buds of the willow plant, as well as in certain nuts, legumes, bulbs and unripe fruits, where it serves as the precursor of salicylic acid.Salicylic acid is an organic acid that functions as a stress- response hormone with roles in regulation of plant growth and survivability, particularly defense against pathogens. It has been extracted and used by traditional medicine as a remedy against infection, fever and pain.

Naturally occurring salicin provides the same analgesic and anti- inflammatory benefits that aspirin does, but without the typical side effects associated with synthetic aspirin.

Dietary Sources (Herbs and Foods)

The main herbal source of salicin is the willow plant. Willows are non- domesticated wild species, rich in SAF nutrients. They are found in temperate and Arctic zones as well as subtropical and tropical zones, geographically distributed in all continents except Antarctica and Australia.

Food sources of salicin/salicylic acid include unripe fruits and vegetables, particularly wild berries, dates, guavas, apricots (fruit and kernels), green peppers, olives, radishes and mushrooms. Among all nuts and legumes; almonds and peanuts are exceptionally rich in salicylic acid.

Mechanisms of Action

Salicin’s derivative salicylic acid was found to activate the AMPK pathway and inhibit mTOR (the body’s main growth pathway), which explain its anti- inflammatory, anti- neoplastic and anti- aging repair properties.

Salicylic acid activates AMPK by uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation which leads to depletion of ATP, and increased AMP/ATP ratio in the cells. Enhancing AMPK activity subsequently exerts similar effects as calorie restriction and exercise on the body.


  • Pain and fever relieving (inhibition of COX and suppression of pro- inflammatory hormones prostaglandins and cytokines).
  • Calorie restriction and exercise like effects (activation of AMPK, inhibition of mTOR and depletion of cellular ATP).
  • Anti- inflammatory (inhibition of mTOR and COX).
  • Anti- aging (suppression of cellular senescence, enhanced repair)
  • Anti- neoplastic (inhibition of mTOR and suppression of growth promoting pro- inflammatory pathways)
  • Anti- depressant (natural endorphins release)
  • Skin rejuvenating (improvements in seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, calluses, keratosis and warts; increased epidermis cells shedding; opening of clogged pores and neutralization of bacteria within to allow room for new cell growth).


Some people are hypersensitive to salicin/salicylic acid and related compounds. Patients with known hypersensitivity to aspirin should avoid any willow- containing products. Patients on anti- seizure or blood- thinning medications should not combine willow with these substances. It should not be used during pregnancy and should not be given to children.

SAF Stress-Response Complex

SAF Stress-Response Complex combines the most potent SAF nutrients specifically selected to mimic the effects of fasting and exercise on the body. These hard to find nutrients are specially sourced from barks, roots, rhizomes and leaves into one exclusive package. The formula includes berberine, salicin, green tea, resveratrol and turmeric to yield the right nutritional complexity at the right biological potency.

Jump start your SAF experience with SAF Stress-Response Complex.


Hayat, S. and Ahmad, A. (2007). Salicylic acid – A Plant Hormone. Springer. ISBN 1-4020-5183-2.Van Huijsduijnen, R. A. M. H.; Alblas, S. W.; De Rijk, R. H.; Bol, J. F. (1986). “Induction by Salicylic Acid of Pathogenesis-related Proteins and Resistance to Alfalfa Mosaic Virus Infection in Various Plant Species”. Journal of General Virology 67 (10): 2135.Hemel, Paul B. and Chiltoskey, Mary U. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses – A 400 Year History, Sylva, NC: Herald Publishing Co. (1975); cited in Dan Moerman, A Database of Foods, Drugs, Dyes and Fibers of Native American Peoples, Derived from Plants.What is Salicylic acid and in which foods does it occur?. Retrieved on 2012-06-03.Grimes, P.E. (1999).”The Safety and Efficacy of Salicylic Acid Chemical Peels in Darker Racial-ethnic Groups”. Dermatologic Surgery 25 (1): 18–22.Roberts, W. E. (2004). “Chemical peeling in ethnic/dark skin”. Dermatologic Therapy 17 (2): 196–205.

“Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Aspirin – It’s All About Salicylic Acid”. American Chemical Society.

Hawley, S. A.; Fullerton, M. D.; Ross, F. A.; Schertzer, J. D.; Chevtzoff, C.; Walker, K. J.; Peggie, M. W.; Zibrova, D. et al. (2012). “The Ancient Drug Salicylate Directly Activates AMP-Activated Protein Kinase”. Science 336 (6083).
Raffensperger, Lisa (2012-04-19). “Clues to aspirin’s anti-cancer effects revealed”. New Scientist

“Definition of Salicylic acid”.

Salicylate Toxicity. Retrieved on 2012-06-03.

Kahkonen MP ,Hopia AI , Vuorela HJ , Rauha JP , Pihlaja K , Kujala TS , Heinonen M . Antioxidant activity of plant extracts containing phenolic compounds . J Agric Food Chem .1999 ; 47 ( 10 ): 3954-3962 .

El-ShemyHA , Aboul-Enein AM , Aboul-Enein MI , Issa SI , Fujita K . The effect of willow leaf extracts on human leukemic cells in vitro . J Biochem Mol Biol .2003 ; 36 ( 4 ): 387-389 .

Khayyal MT , El-Ghazaly MA , Abdallah DM , Okpanyi SN , Kelber O , Weiser D . Mechanisms involved in the anti-inflammatory effect of a standardized willow bark extract .Arzneimittelforschung .2005 ; 55 ( 11 ): 677-687 .

Mills SY , Jacoby RK , Chacksfield M , Willoughby M . Effect of a proprietary herbal medicine on the relief of chronic arthritis pain: a double-blind study . Br J Rheumatol .1996 ; 35 ( 9 ): 874-878 .

Wagner I ,Greim C , Laufer S , Heide L , Gleiter CH . Influence of willow bark extract on cyclooxygenase activity and on tumor necrosis factor alpha or interleukin 1 beta release in vitro and ex vivo .Clin Pharmacol Ther .2003 ; 73 ( 3 ): 272-274 .

Biegert C , Wagner I , Ludtke R , et al. Efficacy and safety of willow bark extract in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: results of 2 randomized double-blind controlled trials . J Rheumatol .2004 ; 31 ( 11 ): 2121-2130 .

Krivoy N , Pavlotzky E , Chrubasik S , Eisenberg E , Brook G . Effect of salicis cortex extract on human platelet aggregation .PlantaMedica .2001 ; 67 ( 3 ): 209-212 .