Salicylic acid (SA) is a plant hormone which plays a crucial role in the plant defense against various pathogens and abiotic stresses. Increasing reports suggest that this phenolic compound and its derivatives, collectively termed salicylates, not only regulate plant defense but also have beneficial effects on human health. Both natural and synthetic salicylates are known to have multiple targets in humans, thereby exhibiting various appreciating pharmacological roles, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, neuroprotective, antidiabetic effects, and so on. The role of some salicylates, such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), 5-aminosalicylic acid (mesalazine), and amorfrutins in human diseases has been well studied in vitro. However, their clinical significance in different diseases is largely unknown. Based on recent studies, five natural salicylates, including amorfrutin, ginkgolic acid, grifolic acid, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and cannabidiolic acid, showed potential roles in different challenging human diseases. This review summarizes together some of the recent information on multitarget regulatory activities of these natural salicylates and their pharmacological roles in human health.
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