Q:

What are the natural and synthetic sources of aspirin?

A:

Quick Answer

The active ingredient in all aspirin on the market as of 2014 is a synthetic compound called acetyl salicylic acid. This is a derivative of the compound salicin. Plants and trees, most notably the willow tree, naturally produce salicin.

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Synthetic aspirin was first discovered by a German chemist named Felix Hoffman in the year 1897. For many years before this discovery, salicin, the naturally occurring form, was used to treat fevers and relieve pain. Because the natural salicin compound irritated the lining of the stomach and mouth, it rarely was prescribed for treating ailments. Hoffman remedied this problem when he discovered how to artificially synthesize salicin, and he began to commercially produce aspirin.

As early as the year 400 B.C., willow tree extract was used by the Greeks for medicinal purposes. Famous Greek philosopher Hippocrates prescribed a drink made with willow tree extract to help mothers with labor pains. In the year 1763, an English reverend named Edward Stone conducted the first scientific study on the extract. He gave ground willow tree bark to 50 people suffering from rheumatic fever, recorded the results of the experiment and proved that the bark helped to lower fevers and stop pain and inflammation.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who invented aspirin?

    A:

    Plant extracts containing the active ingredient in aspirin have been used medicinally since at least 400 B.C., but the modern drug known as aspirin was first developed and patented by Bayer, a German pharmaceutical company. Bayer coined and trademarked the name "Aspirin."

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  • Q:

    What is an aspirin regimen?

    A:

    An aspirin regimen, also known as aspirin therapy, is a daily dose of aspirin between one-fourth to one-half of the regular strength to prevent and manage heart attack and clot-related stroke risks, according to WebMD. An aspirin regimen works by decreasing the inflammation of plaque build up in the arteries and preventing blood clots by thinning the blood.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between aspirin and paracetamol?

    A:

    According to WebMD, aspirin is an nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which means it is anti-inflammatory and acts as a blood thinner, while paracetamol, known as acetominophen or Tylenol in the United States, is not. Both are pain relievers.

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  • Q:

    What is Bayer aspirin made of?

    A:

    Bayer aspirin is made of the active ingredient aspirin, plus several inactive ingredients, notes the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The over-the-counter medication acts as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and temporary pain reliever for minor aches and pains.

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