No other over-the-counter drug has been around so long, or has been researched as extensively as ASPIRIN.
The history of aspirin (also known as acetylsalicylic acid or ASA) and the medical use of it and related substances stretches back to antiquity, though pure ASA has only been manufactured and marketed since 1899. Medicines made from willow and other salicylate-rich plants appear in Egyptian pharonic pharmacology papyri from the second millennium BCE. Hippocrates referred to their use of salicylic tea to reduce fevers around 400 BCE, and were part of the pharmacopoeia of Western medicine in Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages. Willow bark extract became recognized for its specific effects on fever, pain and inflammation in the mid-eighteenth century. Lewis and Clark allegedly used willow bark tea in 1803-1806 as a remedy for fever for members of the famous expedition. By the nineteenth century pharmacists were experimenting with and prescribing a variety of chemicals related to salicylic acid, the active component of willow extract.
Aspirin – the drug widely used to deal with hangover headaches and many other minor illnesses – was developed in Germany by a chemical process described by research chemist Felix Hoffman on October 10, 1897. More than a 100 years later it is still the most versatile and effective medicine on the pharmacist’s shelf. But as doctors are now increasingly recognising, the drug does not just relieve aches and pains, it can also prevent a wide range of serious, life threatening conditions.
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