The Aspirin (Salicylic acid) is known for its ability to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. Recently experiments demonstrate that Salicylic acid plays a therapeutic role during the plant response to abiotic stresses such as drought, chilling, heavy metal toxicity, heat and osmotic stress. In this sense, Salicylic acid appears to be, just like in mammals, an “effective therapeutic agent” for plants. Besides this function during biotic and abiotic stress, Salicylic acid plays a crucial role in the regulation of physiological and biochemical processes during the entire lifespan of the plant.
The Salicylic acid, the active substance of Aspirin, is extracted from the bark of willow tree (Salix genus). In fact, Salicylic acid (SA) is a phenolic phyto-hormone and is found in plants with roles in plant growth and development, photosynthesis, transpiration, ion uptake and transport.
Experimental influence of Water Aspirin in plants’ health
Tests at the Organic Vegetable Garden at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston in 2005 showed that spraying a water solution containing aspirin increased yields and the quality of tomatoes, eggplant, basil, cucumbers, beans and other vegetables.
The aspirin is an activator of Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR). Plants, when under stress, naturally produce salicylic acid, but not fast enough and in sufficient quantities to really help them out in time. So the bugs and diseases get them and they show even more stress.
Weather-wise, the summer during this first experiment was not the best for gardening. It was cool, rainy and damp. But by the end of the season, the plants treated with the aspirin water looked like they were on steroids. The plants were huge and green and with no pests. There was observed some disease problems that reversed themselves. A virus on the cucumbers, seams that the aspirin water help to reverse it. The cucumbers ended up being very healthy.
During this experiment, beds were sprayed every 3 weeks with aspirin water (1.5 aspirins per 2 gallons – 7.5 l – of water). By adding 2 tablespoons of yucca extract, will help the aspirin water stick to the leaves better. The yucca extract can be substituted with a mild liquid soap. The yucca (or soap) prevents the aspirin water from beading up and rolling off leaves of broccoli and kale leaves.
How much and how often to use Aspirin on plants?
The aspirin water is made of 250 to 500 milligrams (one or two regular aspirin tablets) of aspirin dissolved in each gallon (3.7 l) of water. These treatments should be applied once every two or three weeks throughout the growing season and may be used to water germinating seeds and new transplants. Any brand of aspirin will work, but plain, uncoated tablets dissolve best.
Here is a word of warning — more is not better. Whether you use the solution as a foliar spray or soil drench, too much aspirin can burn the plant up.
Aspirin water should be used fresh, preferably as soon as it is made. For best results, spray plants every three weeks. To avoid foliage problems, spray early on a warm, still day, so leaves dry off thoroughly before cooler evening hours arrive.
However, this solution was only effective before the first sign of disease. Under extremely stressful conditions or those highly favourable to the growth of diseases, however, salicylic acid may not prevent all damage from stress or disease”
How works the aspirin in plants
It is thought that the Salicylic acid in aspirin trigger the plants natural defences and boosts the plant’s growth rate. Not only were the aspirin treated plants healthier, but the yield was better than those plants treated with a commercial bio stimulant. The plants grew larger and produced more than in the control beds.
In plants, researchers credit salicylic acid with triggering systemic acquired resistance (SAR), a kind of general readiness state that primes plant defences against pending microbial or insect attack. Some describe it as boosting a plant’s immune system.
As it turns out, salicylic acid and substances very like it are naturally produced by many plants in tiny amounts. In plants, these benign compounds awaken a number of natural protective responses, from increasing root length and strength to growing denser, stronger foliage.
In a number of studies, plants given aspirin water exhibited many of these protective responses. Treated plants grew faster and were better able to fend off pests and diseases than their untreated counterparts.
Aspirin improves seed germination
The experiment included also the effect of the aspirin water sprayed on the seeds when they were directly sowed in the ground. The result, they discovered was 100 percent seed germination, compared to spotty germination in the other trial beds.
Soak the seeds in an Aspirin water before sowing them.
Cut flowers last better in aspirin water?
Current research may explain the tale of adding an aspirin to a vase of cut flower to keep the blooms fresh longer. Here is the explanation: the cutting of flowers is perceived by the plant as a wound and so it stimulates the production of a substance that not only helps the plant fight off bugs, but also hastens aging or wilting, such as in the case of a cut flower.
Aspirin halts the formation of the substance, which in turn, keeps the flowers looking young and not wilting prematurely.
Aspirin is organic?
Well, not really. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is derived from the white willow tree, Salix alba. Studies are now being conducted on plants using pure willow extracts to compare the effects to aspirin.
To avoid harming bees or other pollinators, spray before these beneficial insects are present (usually before the sun reaches the plants you are treating).
Aspirin is working for all kinds of plants
Small amounts of Aspirin water are found to be efficient treatment for stressed plants, as well as a wide range of fruits and vegetables. From crops to house plants, the plants are more vigorous and helps keeping away the pests such aphids.
The next time your plant is looking a little feverish or flushed, consider reaching for some aspirin for treating what ails it.
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