Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating If Salicylate is oil soluble how is aspen bark powder water soluble?

  • If Salicylate is oil soluble how is aspen bark powder water soluble?

    Posted by Acorn on April 1, 2024 at 3:43 pm

    <div>With the intention of formulating a massage oil that reduces inflammation and eases pain I am performing an oil infusion of Populus tremuloides -buds and inner bark (for its salicates) and Betula alleghaniensis - inner bark (for its anti-inflammatory compounds) in Sweet Almond oil.

    I can not find any literature on oil infusions of P.tremuloides. All studies I have come across indicate extracting the salicate via water. The literature states that salicates are oil soluble but the industry makes and sells aspen bark extract for water soluble formulations.

    I’m confused and just want to be sure I am extracting the targeted chemical. Am I actually getting the salicylic acid from the pounded buds and inner bark? The oil definitely ‘tastes’ a little like aspirin.

    A little background; I make skin balms and salves with local botanicals. The studies of local plant constituents are few and I am often going on native teachings which often have little science to back it. I am hoping to be able to share the medicines with confidence that they are effective but in this there is much trial and error. Maybe some chemists out there have the answers I seek.

    Herbnerd replied 2 weeks, 6 days ago 3 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Graillotion

    April 1, 2024 at 8:25 pm

    Start your study with …. comparing the solubility of salicylic acid…and the salt forms….Salicylates.

    Suddenly your eyes will open.

    Enjoy the journey.

  • Herbnerd

    April 1, 2024 at 9:31 pm

    There is a difference between salicylic acid and salicin - the latter being the salicylate compound found in plants.

    Salicin is a glycoside which is highly soluble in water (43 g/L) (not so much in ethanol at 3 g/L); however Salicylic acid has poor solubility in water (about 2 g/L)

  • Acorn

    April 2, 2024 at 5:30 am

    So does this means I am not really getting the medicine I want with an oil infusion unless I were to ferment the plant first?

    • Graillotion

      April 2, 2024 at 3:17 pm

      Oil will only solubilize oil soluble aspects. It is therefore recommended for beginners to use…as it rarely solubilizes the things they anticipate. 😉 This keeps society safe! (Can you imagine if they actually extracted some of those powerful ingredients???) As long as they can get a little color and scent…they are more than happy. 😀

      • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by  Graillotion.
    • Herbnerd

      April 2, 2024 at 3:20 pm

      If you are doing an oil extraction of the plant, it is unlikely unless there are any oil-soluble salicylate compounds present. Salicylic acid is soluble at about 2.4% in oil; however the acid form may not be present in appreciable quantities to be considered therapeutic.

      Plants are full of a tonne of compounds - and depending on the plant (genus/species) and sometimes down to chemotypes of plants, also where it is grown, when it is harvested the target compounds may be present in greater or lesser quantities.

      You may be better buying a standardised extract (such as Salix alba bark extract standardised to X% salicin; but if you are using this is a topical cream the salicin won’t be broken down from its glycoside to the free acid.

      You could however, use another salicylate compound - such as methyl salicylate or wintergreen oil. You can buy synthetic methyl salicylate but wintergreen oil if you want natural.

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