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I Have Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but it Doesn't Have Me!

What are Salicylates & Blocking?

Salicylic acid is a hormone produced by plants naturally as a protective agent against soil bacteria. Without salicylates plants would never get off the ground alive. Plants with high salicylate content have been used medicinally since 1500 B.C. Aspirin is now made synthetically and naturally and is therefore found in many products. Aspirin completely blocks the effectiveness of Guaifenesin at the kidney level. (St. Amand & Marek  2006, pgs. 72-.97) 


To ignore the following guarantees failure: aspirin and other sources of salicylate BLOCK  the action of guaifenesin at the same kidney level as they do other uricosuric medications. A person’s genetic makeup determines susceptibility to blocking.


Nevertheless to assure success, everyone should adhere to the protocol and make no modifications.


Salicylates are present in many pain medications such as aspirin and those for some forms of colitis. Salicylate is absorbed through intact skin as well as the thin membranes of the mouth and intestine. Products used topically or as medications should be inspected for ingredients including all synthetic forms such as octisalate in sunscreens and wintergreen in gum.


Almost all plant species have substantial levels of the natural chemical. Quantities vary from crop to crop and are stored to fend off infections and to help heal injuries. For this reason herbal medications block guaifenesin as do plant extracts and oils including camphor. 

The following is an incomplete guide to sources of natural and synthetic salicylates: 

MEDICATIONS: (1.) Pain relievers containing salicylate or salicylic acid, for example, aspirin, Salflex, Anacin, Excedrin, Disalcid. (2.) Herbal medications such as St. John’s Wort, gingko biloba, saw palmetto, evening primrose oil, Echinacea. Vitamins with rose hips, bioflavonoids (quercetin, hesperiden or rutin) or plant extracts such as alfalfa. (3.) Some wart or callus removers, acne products and dandruff shampoos contain salicylic acid. (4.) Topical pain creams such as Tiger Balm, Ben Gay, Myoflex.(5.) Medications such as Pepto Bismol, Asacol, Alka Seltzer and Urised. 

COSMETIC AND TOPICAL PRODUCTS (1.) Skin cleansers (exfoliants) that use salicylic acid or witch hazel. (2.) Hair products with plant extracts such as balsam or bisabol. (3.) Bubble baths with essential oils such as lavender. (4.) Watch for the letters ‘SAL’ in sunscreens: octisalate, homosalate, or the name meradimate or mexoryl. (5.) Lip balms containing camphor or menthol. (6.) Lipsticks, glosses and deodorants should be checked for castor oil. (7.) When gardening wear waterproof gloves, avoid barefoot contact with freshly cut grass. (8.) Avoid tissue or wipes containing aloe. (9.) Shaving creams with aloe or menthol will block. (10.) Do not use razors with aloe strips (Vitamin E, lanolin, and baby Oil are acceptable.) (11.) Moisturizers with oils such as almond, extracts such as green tea, or gels such as arnica. 

ORAL AGENTS: (1.) Most mouth washes contain mint, wintergreen or salicylate (Listerine). (2.) Toothpastes contain salicylates, as well as fresh or synthetic mint, often unlisted. Use non mint toothpastes made by Tom’s of Maine, Cleure (Grace FibroSmile) or Personal Basics. Baking soda and/or peroxide also provide good cleansing and whitening. The non-mint pre-brushing rinses are acceptable as are the Cleure mouthwashes; (3.) Avoid lozenges, floss, breath fresheners or chewing gum with mint flavor (menthol, wintergreen, peppermint or spearmint). (Strong fruit and/Cinnamon flavors may mask unlisted mint) 



     If you fail, you will convince your doctor guaifenesin does not work and the opportunity to help other fibromyalgics will be lost. Dictionaries can help you identify ingredients. Get the full list of contents when you phone manufacturers because customer service employees will not know that plants make salicylates. Our website connects you with a knowledgeable support group that will help you with questions. The site keeps updated listings of safe products and new information. 

No diet is required for fibromyalgia because the liver has a certain but limited capacity to counter food salicylates. It cannot override excesses from plant concentrates obtained from juicing or in herbal medications. Teas are high in salicylate and should be avoided. 

Decongestants and cough medicines have side effects and should not be used as sources for guaifenesin.


Pure (single-ingredient) guaifenesin has no side effects (rarely transient nausea) and no known drug interactions.


Pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ultram, Darvocet-N, Imitrex, and non-steroidal drugs such as Advil and Aleve, do not block guaifenesin.


Especially when dealing with chronic illness, we chose not to prescribe narcotics such as codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycontin, morphine or methadone even though they are not blockers. They are too liberally prescribed for pain control at the price of eventual addiction. When our mapping indicates it is time to discontinue them, intense withdrawal effects usually occur. All too many patients fail in the attempt since, as the drug wears off they feel worse.


©2023 Chantal K. Hoey-Sanders. All rights reserved.

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