Aspirin, the most widely used medicine for pain, fever, and inflammation contains acetylsalicylic acid as its active ingredient. That may gently startle many of us. It is to be noted that Acetylsalicylic acid is synthetically made from petroleum chemicals. Aspirin, which coyly peeks from our medicine cabinets has served as the world’s preferred drug to cure all minor ailments and has been the go-to drug owing to its ease of availability.
Historically, salicylic acid - derived from plant extracts was the key component in Aspirin. Many researchers have noted that Hippocrates utilized salicylic acid which was extracted from the bark of willow trees as an analgesic. With technological advancements in every field, a synthetic substitute for salicylic acid was sought after to work the wonders it did.
German scientist Felix Hoffman synthesised the first sample of pure acetylsalicylic acid in 1987 and went on to patent it under the trademark of Aspirin in 1989. Aspirin borrows its name from “a” derived from acetyl and “spirin” from Spirea, the genus name of the source plant for salicylic acid. Stories suggest that the genesis of Aspirin materialized as a cure to his father’s rheumatism (Bless you, Sir). The synthesis of the infamous drug Heroin is also accredited to Felix Hoffman. However, after Germany’s defeat at the end of First World War, Bayer sold its trademark to U.S production plants. Sterling, an American company procured the rights to market Aspirin under its own name in the United States.
Have you ever wondered how Aspirin works? Well, Aspirin simply inhibits and prevents the growth of certain hormones responsible for pain and inflammation. And voila, pain departs like a well-behaved child.
Despite many pain relievers in the marketplace before the genesis of Aspirin, America has accepted Aspirin as the panacea to a plethora of ailments owing to its unanimous acceptance and the consumption of 16,000 tons of tablets a year. The tablet has been beneficial in curing diseases such as rheumatic fever gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. Fun fact! Aspirin is also consumed to keep heart attacks at bay.
If you are under the assumption that Aspirin is merely an analgesic, here are a few other eccentric uses to surprise you. Due to the presence of salicylic acid which abates the possibility of clogged pores, it is used in treating acne. Face washes and dandruff shampoos contain traces of salicylic acid because of its moisturizing qualities. The anti-fungal properties of salicylic acid serve as a perfect addition to your garden delaying the growth of mould.
Barring few side effects, Aspirin has marked its presence in the pharmaceutical industry and in our lives with its simple, yet, important presence. So, you rule Aspirin!