Contain tomatoes salicylic acid

Salicylic acidDrug groupsSalicylates Salicylic acid is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug from the group of salicylates with analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and corneal dissolving properties. Salicylic acid is used medically only externally to dissolve the cornea and as a local pain reliever. There are potentially numerous side effects associated with ingestion. Since salicylic acid is absorbed through the skin, the drugs should not be applied over a large area. Its use as a preservative for food is controversial and banned in many countries.

synonym: Acidum salicylicumPhEur, Salicylic AcidINCI, hydroxybenzoic acid, spiric acid


Salicylic acid is available in combination with other active ingredients in a number of topical medicinal products. It is also contained in numerous magistral formulas that have to be prepared for customers in a pharmacy. Corresponding manufacturing regulations can be found, for example, in the DMS (e.g. → salicylic vaseline).

Structure and properties

The salicylic acid or ortho-Hydroxybenzoic acid (C.7H6O3, Mr = 138.1) is available as a white, crystalline powder or in the form of white to colorless crystal needles, which are difficult to dissolve in cold water and easily soluble in 96% ethanol. It is more soluble in hot water. Salicylic acid has a pungent, sweet and sour taste. It occurs naturally in the form of derivatives in many plants, including the white willowSalix alba L. It belongs to the phenols and carboxylic acids.


Salicylic acid (ATC D01AE12, ATC S01BC08) has antimicrobial (fungi and bacteria), keratolytic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

application areas

Salicylic acid is used externally as a skin and corneal dissolving agent against warts, acne, corns, dandruff, ichthyoses, psoriasis, thickening of the foot and hand horn layer and keratinized eczema. Another area of ​​application is the external treatment of pain and inflammation, e.g. in the form of rheumatic ointments.


According to the specialist information. The application depends on the product.

Salicylic acid is no longer administered internally due to its undesirable effects. The derivative and prodrug → acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin®, generics) is available for this purpose.


Salicylic acid is contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity and during pregnancy and should only be applied over small areas because it is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Do not apply to the eyes and mucous membranes or to open wounds and do not take orally as a pain reliever. As a precaution, salicylic acid should not be used in children and adolescents with viral infections due to the risk of Reye's syndrome. The complete precautionary measures can be found in the relevant medicinal product information and package inserts.

unwanted effects

Salicylic acid is irritating and can irritate the skin and mucous membranes, e.g. redness and a burning sensation. Hypersensitivity reactions are possible (salicylate allergy). Salicylate poisoning has been reported after extensive application to the skin.

When taken, gastrointestinal complaints such as dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal bleeding and gastrointestinal ulceration can occur. An overdose manifests itself in gastrointestinal complaints, hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia, skin rashes, dizziness, ringing in the ears, visual and hearing disorders, tremors, confusion, hyperthermia, sweating, hyperventilation, disorders of the acid-base balance and electrolytes, desiccosis, coma, respiratory failure .

As a preservative for tomatoes

Salicylic acid is an outdated preservative that was used, among other things, for cooked and peeled tomatoes (by the way, also acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin®), the acetylated derivative). Its use is controversial and banned in many countries. Due to its keratolytic properties, salicylic acid can irritate mucous membranes and, especially in higher doses, lead to numerous undesirable effects. The toxic phenol is formed when heated.

We cannot conclusively assess how high the health risk actually is with the recipes used. Of course, it also depends on the amount of acid added (usually 1 g / kg) and the amount of tomatoes consumed. From our point of view, salicylic acid should no longer be used as a preservative for food in private life either. Alternatively, tomatoes can be frozen without preservation, for example, and can thus be kept for 6 to 12 months. More recipes can be found in tomato recipe books.

see also

Salicylic Vaseline, Acids, Acetylsalicylic Acid

  • Medicinal product information (CH)
  • Ebermann R., Elmadfa I. Food chemistry and nutrition. Vienna: Springer, 2008
  • European Pharmacopoeia PhEur
  • Hardman J.G., Limbird L.E. (Eds.) Goodman & Gilman's. The pharmacological basis of therapeutics. Tenth edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001
  • Herrmann M. Salicylic acid: an old dog, new tricks, and staphylococcal disease. J Clin Invest, 2003, 112 (2), 149-51 Pubmed
  • Lebwohl M. The role of salicylic acid in the treatment of psoriasis. Int J Dermatol, 1999, 38 (1), 16-24 Pubmed
  • Lin A.N., Nakatsui T. Salicylic acid revisited. Int J Dermatol, 1998, 37 (5), 335-42 Pubmed
  • Reynolds J. (Ed.) Martindale. The Extra Pharmacopoeia. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1989
  • Roempp online
  • Swiss food book

Conflicts of Interest: None / Independent. The author has no relationships with the manufacturers and is not involved in the sale of the products mentioned.

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