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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Full Answer

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:

    Is acetaminophen the same as aspirin?

    A:

    Acetaminophen is not the same type of medication as aspirin. According to Drugs.com acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer, while aspirin is a salicylate. Aspirin reduces fever, swelling and substances that cause aches in the body.

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  • Q:

    Does ibuprofen have aspirin in it?

    A:

    Ibuprofen does not have aspirin in it because it contains a different active ingredient. While the active ingredient in ibuprofen is (+-) -(2)-(p-isobutylphenyl) propionic acid, aspirin contains the ingredient acetylsalicylic acid. Although both are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used as pain relievers and sold over-the-counter, they also have different uses and side effects.

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  • 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:

    Is there aspirin in Aleve?

    A:

    Aleve does not contain aspirin, according to Drugs.com. Naproxen is the active ingredient in Aleve, which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication that relieves pain and inflammation by reducing the levels of certain hormones in the body.

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